Sunday, November 30, 2003

CATANIA -- Night 2

I'm scared.

I was having lunch in the cafeteria of the Crew Hostile and I saw that man again. This time he was openly watching me. At first I tried to ignore him, but every time I glanced up he was staring.

So I grabbed my stuff and left. After a minute I glanced back. HE WAS FOLLOWING ME! Not, just following, but catching up. I went faster, and when I turned back around he was running.

That's when I ran.

I dodged in and around people and when I was sure I was far enough out of sight I doubled-back. I saw him rushing through the crowd, still on my last heading, so I was able to sneak back the other way.

Right now I'm hiding in one of the woman's bathrooms in the passenger section of the port.

All my stuff is still in the Crew Hostile. I'm afraid to go back to my room for fear he's waiting for me there. I can't go to the police in case Treewrich or someone else from the PARABUS complained about 'the incident.'

I don't know what I'm going to do.
CATANIA -- Day 2

I PASSED THE TEST!!!!

I have my coveted certificate in the inside pocket of my jacket. Starship Services gave me a basic info printout about the MAGNUS and a schematic of the Solomani Crossbow-Class heavy passenger cruiser, of which the MAGNUS is one.

I'm going to have a late lunch and look over this new information. The MAGNUS is due in late tomorrow.

I'm very excited!

Saturday, November 29, 2003

CATANIA -- Day 1

I've been productive this afternoon. I registered to take the apprentice certificate test as a sensor/comm operator, like Jinny. The test is tomorrow, so I found some cheap crew lodgings here at the starport and I've been studying the test material they gave me at Starship Services. There is a lot to learn, so I just bought some rations to keep me going until test time tomorrow and I'm going to jam as much of this information into my brain as I can until then.

On a side note, I don't know it this is just left over paranoia from the PARABUS, but I could have sworn some guy was following me earlier. I passed by him when I first left PARABUS, then I saw him twice more, once by Starship Services, and once in the lounge outside the Crew Hostile, where I am staying. It is probably nothing. All three places are common hang-outs for spacers in between positions.
PARABUS -- Day 7

We'll be landing on Catania within the hour. I'm packed and as soon as we touch down I am disembarking.

Jinny stopped by a minute ago. She asked me if I'd been studying the manuals, which I have been since I had nothing else to do. She told me where to go for the apprentice certificate testing so I can get hired on to one of the big transports on a working/learning passage. She also gave me the name of a ship due to dock in two days, called the MAGNUS. She knows the captain of the MAGNUS and is sending a recommendation to him on my behalf.

Jinny has been so nice to me. I'll miss her.

All the same, I'll be very glad to get the PARABUS and this whole ugly mess behind me.

Friday, November 28, 2003

PARABUS -- Day 6 (afternoon)

Captain Gliktom just left. I feel a little bit better now.

He told me that Lady Geriondsin had confided in him. She didn't trust her relatives. During the jump to Ganesh someone tried to steal the Grimola. She gave the Grimola to her assistant (Hamind) and instructed him to take a different transport to Banasdan. That's why the captain wasn't worried about the location of the Grimola.

Because no one boarded the starship but me on Ganesh, and he trusted his crew and Hamind, he knew that the assassin must be on board the PARABUS. He didn't think it could be me, since I didn't know anything of the situation and had no motive. So that meant one of the passengers had to be guilty.

Micro-scanning every item in every cabin would take more time than they had before reaching Catania, when evidence would be easier to dispose of. Since I pointed out Treewrich, they scanned his cabin and just a few minutes before he came to see me they found a tiny bag hidden in Treewrich's belt with traces of the poison still on it.

He's secured Treewrich until the authorities on Catania can take over.

Apparently, Treewrich is already claiming the Dretrich set the whole thing up to frame him. He is saying that I am working for Dretrich and faked the scan to implicate him. Because he is claiming I faked it, and didn't really use psionics, then he can't charge me with that crime.

The captain told me he believes otherwise. I am to stay in my cabin until we land at Catania, and then I am to quickly and quietly leave his ship, and if I know what is good for me, get back on a starship and leave Catania before the authorities come looking for me.
PARABUS -- Day 6 (morning)

The captain still has not come to speak with me. Jinny dropped off some breakfast just now, but she would not stay. She told me to remain in my cabin until the captain says otherwise.

Last night I started going over the manuals I uploaded to my processor earlier this week. I'll probably do that again this morning. Mainly I am trying not to think about my situation and the cosmic bad luck I seem to have.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

PARABUS -- Day 5 (evening)

I think I'm going to be sick. Something awful has happened.

I didn't mean for it to happen. I really didn't. At least not at first...

Oh, I wish Juwanda were here. She'd understand.

I began this log by confiding that I have a secret. It is because of this secret that I began this journey, and it is because of this secret that I may be in serious, serious trouble.

Maybe it is best if I just tell you what happened as it occurred...

The captain, Chet, Kenseth and I were all in Lady Geriondsin's suite when Baron Dretrich stormed in. He was shouting at the captain for not arresting me and finding the Grimola. Then he grabbed my wrist, I guess to arrest me himself.

That's when it happened the first time. I must have been hyped up with all that is going on. Like a static shock it hit me all of a sudden. I knew he had not killed Lady Geriondsin. I also felt his great frustration at the loss of the Grimola.

He must have felt something too, because he stopped short and stared at me, then left the room without a word.

The others were staring at me, so I shrugged and the matter seemed soon forgotten.

Moments later, Baron Dretrich returned with his cousin, Baron Treewrich. Dretrich grabbed my arm, this time on the sleeve instead of bare skin, and he slapped my hand to Treewrich's face and held it there. I was too shocked to know what to say. Nothing happened at first, then I realized what Dretrich meant for me to do. I could have resisted this time, but I didn't think. I just did it. I read Treewrich's thoughts.

It was terrible. Black and hateful thoughts twisted my guts like a virus. I tried to pull away but Dretrich wouldn't let me.

He yelled, "Speak!"

I whispered, "He did it. He poisoned her."

"The Grimola?"

"He could not find it."

Dretrich tossed aside my hand in disgust and then beat on Treewrich until the captain and Chet pulled him off. The captain told me to stay in my cabin while he sorts things out.

So here I sit, waiting. Use of psionics is a crime in the Imperium. I may not have poisoned Lady Geriondsin, but in the eyes of some, I've done something worse. To them, I AM something worse than an assassin.

I can't go anywhere. I can do nothing but wait.
PARABUS -- Day 5 (mid-day)

The morning was fruitless. The medics (Chet and Kenseth) don't know what more can be done. Even Jinny is out of ideas for ways to scan for the murderer. I had wondered if perhaps the bottle had been poisoned long ago, but Jinny says that type of poison has a half-life of only a few days so for it to be as potent as it was, it must have been added to the bottle either while they were on Ganesh or just afterward.

Again, this doesn't look good for me, since my DNA was found on the bottle.

Captain Gliktom told me he doesn't believe I did it. If the crew believe otherwise, they are keeping their silence. The family however, have outright accused me to my face a few times. Not just me, but also the first assistant (Hamind) who left Lady Geriondsin back on Ganesh. He'd been with her Ladyship for decades, so his sudden departure raises a lot of suspicion. The popular opinion is that his DNA must be the unidentified sample also found on the bottle.

However, as the captain pointed out, the assassin most likely wore gloves and left no trace of DNA at all. The captain dismisses Hamind and myself, and the whole of the crew, as suspects. He believes it is one of the family on board.

Again, I think he knows more than he is telling.
PARABUS -- Day 5

Last night I barely slept. Even with my door closed I could hear the loud voices in Lady Geriondsin's suite. All their attempts to find the Grimola have failed.

First thing this morning the captain called a meeting of the crew, including myself. I learned a lot about what is really going on and I'll sum it up as best I can. The Grimola is an antique book with a gold and gem encrusted cover. Among other things the book contains two pieces of information that Lady Geriondsin's family want access to.

One is the family tree going back thousands of years. There are rumors that the family is more closely related to the Emperor of the Imperium than what was apparent and if that is true it could give the family more leverage and prestige than they currently enjoy. Lady Geriondsin told them she didn't want the family to become corrupt with the vulgar matters of the Imperium court, so she withheld that information.

The other item was a code-key. On the tomb of one of the family's ancestors is a coded message which is supposed to lead to some hidden treasure. The book holds the key to deciphering the code.

Lady Geriondsin, as the Keeper of the Book, was to appoint a new Keeper before her seventieth birthday, which is... was fast approaching. The seven family members on board are the only relatives in line by blood who could have been appointed the next Keeper of the Book.

Captain Gliktom ordered us not to concern ourselves with the location of the Grimola and to not allow the family to tear up needed systems to search for it themselves. (I wonder if he has it stashed away himself. He seemed pretty confident no one was going to find it.) We are to concentrate on doing our jobs. Which for me and the medics, means searching for Lady Geriondsin's assassin.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

PARABUS -- Night 4 (late)

Lady Geriondsin passed away minutes ago. The moment the medics declared her dead her relatives began ransacking her room. They are all upset. The Grimola is missing. The servants quarters - including mine - have been scanned and searched. They are searching the rest of the starship now.
PARABUS -- Night 4

The third sample didn't match a single person on board. Some of Lady Geriondsin's family have suggested that I may have been the culprit. I feel everyone's eyes on me.

PARABUS -- Day 4 (evening)

The medics determined Olizagle Root, native to Banasdan, was used to poison her Ladyship. The blackening of the whites of her eyes are the prominent sign. She would have had to ingest it. We discovered an empty bottle of spirits under her bed and it tested positive for the poison. Jinny used the mirco-thermal scan and found three samples of DNA on the bottle. Lady Geriondsin's of course, and mine because I unpacked her cases and a third sample they have not yet identified. The captain has ordered everyone on board be tested.

Lady Geriondsin has declined and depends on machines to breathe. She is not expected to last until morning.
PARABUS -- Day 4 (mid-day)

The medics believe Lady Geriondsin was poisoned. They are taking 12 hour shifts so the two of them can watch her around the clock. We are 3 days out of Catania and they don't believe they can keep her hanging on long enough to reach better medical facilities. The captain has ordered the medics and myself to investigate what we can.

I'll update this log as I am able.
PARABUS -- Day 4

Something awful has occurred. I went into Lady Geriondsin's suite this morning and found her crumpled on the floor. I struck the alarm and the medics came. They are both with her now. She's not dead, but near to it and may yet perish.

I don't know what to do. I'm in my cabin now with the door open so I can watch the activity in case I am needed.

I'll write again when I know more.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

PARABUS -- Night 3

Today was less hectic than yesterday. I anticipated the meals and refreshment times and the stewards have a pre-planned menu for her meals so that is exactly as she requires. Lady Geriondsin is in her sixties I guess, but very healthy and vivacious. She's holding her own, from what I can tell, with these relations of hers. I wonder if this is a working trip, so to speak, and she invited them to come along and argue their cases to her. If not, I don't understand why she keeps summoning them again and again.

The visits lasted much longer than yesterday, so I had some time to relax and have a meal in the mess. Calhoon, one of the engineers, and Jinny, the sensor/comm op. were both there. I got them to tell me about the work they do. They both have heavier responsibilities than a steward, but far less work from day to day. Not to mention finding good work for someone skilled in their fields is far easier. Since I plan to work my passage across the cosmos, becoming skilled in one of these jobs has to be one of my priorities. Jinny loaned me the ships manuals to upload onto my processor. When I get done with this journal entry I'm going to flip through them and decide on a course of study.

Monday, November 24, 2003

PARABUS -- Night 2

I have no free time during the day. Lady Geriondsin keeps me running back and forth: to the mess, to the bridge, to the engine room, to the other passenger quarters and serving her and her guests endlessly. She is what the engineers would refer to as 'extreme maintenance.'

The good side to all this is that I've been to just about every part of the ship and at least seen everyone else on board. There are 2 stewards, but they must run for everyone while I am dedicated to Lady Geriondsin's service alone. Their lives appear as hectic as mine, with all the errands. The stewards are Jacabeen and Wilz. Both men are in their 40s I guess, and seem very efficient and accustom to their roles. They've both been extremely helpful with showing me where to find things.

Besides the two stewards and myself, the crew consists of 2 engineers, 2 medics, a captain/pilot, a navigator and a sensor/ communications operator. Lady Geriondsin is accompanied by seven guests. They came and left in groups and alone throughout the day and discussed matters and people that didn't make sense to me as an outsider.

There was much talk about the Grimola, whatever that may be. I gather Lady Geriondsin has this thing and the others, either for themselves or on behalf of someone else, desire it. I have not the energy to try and figure out the strange ways of nobility. All I know is that my buzzer is going off at 5 in the morning and I better go to sleep now.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

PARABUS -- Night 1

This is the first free moment since I wrote last. I'm in my little 'cabin' on the PARABUS. They should have called it a 'cabinet' because it is so small. I have a fresher and a cot with a built-in locker under it. I'm glad I didn't pack more because it wouldn't have fit. My cabin has two doors: one to Lady Geriondsin's suite and one to the lounge.

The PARABUS (according to Captain Gliktom) is a 200-ton Vanderbilt-class yacht. I have not toured the ship yet, but it is not so large as I will get lost. Besides the captain and her Ladyship, I have only had brief glimpses of the other passengers and crew.

From what I understand of Jump technology, it will take us about seven days to reach Catania, which is a jump-1 away, and take only an additional seven days to reach Banasdan, which is a jump-3. I'm not clear on the astrophysics of it all, but I gather it has something to do with jump-space.

Anyway, so it will take two weeks to reach Banasdan, which is Lady Geriondsin's home world. She says after we arrive, if I've impressed her, she'll keep me on. I have not told her I am traveling and will leave her once we reach the final stop.

Oops... She's calling for me. I must go.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Good News - Ganesh Starport -- Day 3

I have secured a position on the starship PARABUS, heading to Banasdan, which is the capital of the Banasdan subsector. Genesh is also in the Banasdan Subsector. Since Banasdan is jump-4 from here, we'll head to Catania first, which is only a jump-1.

I won't be actually working for the starship, but for one of its passengers. Lady Geriondsin requires a personal assistant. I'm not sure why the one she started out with quit all of a sudden. I can't write much. I want to send a message home, and to Juwanda, to let them know I am leaving and then I must board the PARABUS and get settled within the hour.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Starport Genesh-- Day 2

I'm disappointed and depressed. I'm still at the starport on Ganesh. Juwanda left early this morning. We neither of us thought it would take this long to find work. I had a few near misses but the positions filled before I got to the starships for an interview. I wonder if I shouldn't embellish my experience on the registration at Starship Services.

Besides that frustration, I have grown bored with watching ships launch and smells and sounds of the travel weary passing by in an unending stream. This bench is uncomfortable and I've not had but a faucet bath to refresh myself today. I must look a fright, but on the plus side at least I am beginning to resemble some of the 'experienced' spacers also
crashing out in the wide lounge near Starship Services.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Spaceport Ganesh--Night 1

Juwanda and I are still at the spaceport. She has decided to keep my company until I find a transport, which is not turning out to be as easy as I hoped. The spaceport is a HUGE complex. Ganesh has a class V starport, the largest type, and a Scout base. We arrived at the access for passengers, which turned out to be on the complete opposite side from the Starship Services Office where the open starship positions are posted. Juwanda paid for our ferry ride over, mostly so she and I could get a cheap tour of the port city. It always amazes me to see those starships lifting off and vanishing into the sky. They are so loud up close that I wanted to plug my ears, but since no one else did I didn't either. No sense in looking like a tourist in front of the spacers.

Once we reached the right side of the spaceport and pushed our way to the Hiring Hall in Starship Services, we discovered that the Open Occupations Log, where all the current starship jobs are listed, is available over the link. So armed with the link site and my portable processor, Juwanda and I found a concession area and got comfortable. While we ate, we watched the occupation listings updating on the screen. As new ships arrived, they linked in their open positions, when they filled or the ship left the port the positions vanished from the link.

The positions so far have all required either experience or a level of training exceeding mine. Juwanda and I are discussing my options. I'll update you as soon as I have news.

Starting Out Ganesh--Day 1

I guess this first journal entry is a good place to introduce myself, but at the same time, I don't want to divulge too much. I9ve always kept journals for myself, but this is my first public one. I have reasons for keeping silent on certain aspects, which I may or may not reveal in the future. For now, you can call me Isis. I was born and raised on Ganesh in the Solomini Sector, and I am beginning a journey.

Well, a quest really.

I'm looking for something. Some place to be precise. However, I have not got a clue how to find it or where it is. I can9t ask anyone, not that most would know where to look anyway, because Well, I just can't. Trust me.

I wonder if this is getting you as frustrated as I feel.

Anyway, so I am preparing to go on this quest with no idea where I am going or how to get there, only knowing that I must go.

How do I know I must go? Hum, how to tell you without giving away the big secret? Let's just say I am going to try to find myself. As a post-teenager, I'm entitled to some 'trying to find myself time', do you agree?

My first problem, as I see it, is my lack of space-smarts. I've never traveled off planet by myself before, and even then I've not gone more than one jump away from home. So for me, even going to a spaceport is an adventure. My bags are packed. I'm traveling light, with only one backpack with a week's worth of clothes, plus my hygienic essentials and my little processor.

My family has provided me with a few credits to get started, which I hope to stretch as far as possible. With this in mind, I hope to find a ship willing to take me on as crew rather than paying for a passage. This is one of the reasons I have not planned on traveling to any particular system right off. So rather than use a random number generator to select a course, I leave it up to Fate and the first ship that will take me on. I image if a choice should present itself I may head toward Terra. I've heard some talk which suggests it maybe a good location to find what I am looking for.

As soon as I log off and say my final good-byes, my friend Juwanda is taking me to the spaceport. Juwanda has a similar situation to myself, but I won't get into that now. If I do manage to find what I am searching for, she will follow I am sure. I'll update you from the spaceport when I get the chance.