1100-035 0515 – Outside the Ancients’ Complex on Djinni
0515 - The exploratory party learns from Madeline that, eight hours earlier, a task force of four Imperial starships had jumped into the Djinni system, including—
- A Lightning-class cruiser, the Azhanti High Lightning, 60,000T, under the command of Lady Admiral Starett ap-Agar;
- A 400T lab ship, Feasible Hypothesis, from the Naval Hospital and the University of Regina. Later it is discovered Lady Doctor Cassandra ap-Tain, Martaan's former girlfriend, is aboard as the team's xenovirologist;
- A 400T modified Donosev class Survey Scout, Stygian Solicitation, which has been turned into a sensor collection platform, directed by Garrivan del'Zed of the Imperial Intelligence Service; and,
- The return of the 100T S-class scout / courier Leah's Delight, piloted by Dr. Alric Ironshoulder, with Ujilka H. Roberts navigating, who have been hired to join the VES.
The entire task force is under the direction of Count Diplomat Quinlan ap-Corserra, who has requested to debrief the task force.
0615 – 1700 - The exploration party gets some sleep in their tents, while Madeline and Dr. Soto pilot the cutter to the valley where the Ancients' complex is located. The cutter picks the exploratory team up (leaving the air-rafts secured to trees), then climb up the gravity well to rendezvous with the An Lang.
1700 – 1800 - En route to the Azhanti High Lightning, the VES synthesizes Pascal's video with team members' helmet camera footage (including some sub-vocalizations of our telepathic conversations) into a narrative they could present to the new arrivals.
1800 – 2000
The VES meets with Garrivan del Zed, Count Diplomat Quinlan ap-Corserra, and the Lady Admiral Starrett ap-Agar, and are introduced to their two new VES members- Dr. Alric Ironshoulder and Ujilka H. Roberts. During the meeting—
- The exploratory party briefs those present on their current findings;
- Count Quinlan telepathically asks Leah to confirm the authenticity of their presentation, which she does;
- Garrivan del'Zed is troubled that the the Ancients are still around, and inaccessible, and decides that the VES needs to tell Pascal's parents he died on the mission, not that he had departed this universe to work with the Ancients, who were still around;
- Leah argues that the Imperium owes Pascal's parents double the $200k fee for the VES, especially because the Empire is lying to them about Pascal's fate;
- The official story, particularly for the staff of the lab ship, is that the exploratory team found the alien base in its current state. As a result, there can be speculation about Ancient uplift of humaniti without reviewing all the current evidence;
- The task force leadership speculate that, although the VES broke up the Zhodhani spy ring on Regina, some of their intelligence may have made it offworld, so the Azhanti High Lightning is present as a deterrent against interlopers;
- Finally, the task force is going to avoid fixed installations, so as to avoid aggravating the Ancients.
2000 – 2200 - The VES are guests of the Admiral's mess, and sleep in guest quarters on the Azhanti High Lightning.