It was just before midnight that the QLoK emerged from hyperspace and Nick started following Dev’s course for Jewell.
Approaching the world, Helmut manning the scanners picks up a vast amount of ships in the system, which appear on the holodeck, showing the awesome might of the Imperial 212th Fleet with its array of BatRons and CruRons, not to mention the large amount of commercial ships going to and from the planet – more traffic than the party members have seen since leaving Regina well over a year ago.
Dev hails control at Facet Downport and is given a course which Nick follows through the traffic before the ship safely touches down at the starport just before 6.00am.
As soon as the ship has landed, a team of customs officials boards the ship and spends a while going through all of the ship’s paperwork. They make a thorough inspection of the ship, also checking the cargo quite carefully. They also check the party members’ IDs. Those that are travelling using the Kssoraknue paperwork are questioned as to what humans are doing with Vargr paperwork, but Dev, Sinclair and Splinter have their excuses memorized and this seems to work as the customs officials accept them.
The officials remind all of those onboard that all weapons are strictly prohibited on Jewell outside the home, the punishment being large fines and/or prison terms and so they need to be locked in the ship’s locker until such times as the party members leave Jewell.
Eventually, just after 9.00am, the customs formalities are complete and the officials allow the group to be on their way. The crew shakes all of the passengers by the hand and once more receive glowing reports from them all.
Doctor Ramguteran and Miss Fontaine stay onboard until all of the other passengers have disembarked.
“We’re booked in at the Facet Carlton by the Conference Center,” the doctor explains. “We have been given two suites as part of the competition and we only need one of them and so you are welcome to use the other one. It’s also possible to get a very good rate on other suites if you need them.”
“The Carlton sounds good to me,” agrees Sinclair. “We need a change after being cramped in that tin can for the last week.”
The others are no entirely convinced that it’s a great idea to stay with Dr. Ramguteran and his patient, but leaving Sinclair alone is an even worse idea, so they agree to stay there as well.
They put the doctor and his patient on the grav/truck with some of the best brawlers in the crew along with them, with the air/raft following behind them at a short distance. As it was, however, their security efforts were not necessary as the thirty minute journey from the spaceport to the hotel was without incident and everyone checks into the hotel without a problem.
Once everyone has unpacked, they all meet up in the bar and spend the afternoon watching Sinclair and the Vargr getting more and more drunk. As they get sillier and sillier, the novelty of being with them wears off. While accompanying Sinclair, the party members discuss their priorities while they are on Jewell. Everyone is most concerned about setting up the pharmaceutical manufacturing operation. Splinter tells them that he is no expert in producing drugs – he just prescribes them and so, before they go too far down the line, they need to get an expert onboard. Splinter gets to work on the dataweb, placing a series of adverts for chemists.
Nick, looking for a bit of excitement, asks the concierge if there are any casinos around. He is informed, however, that gambling is illegal on Jewell. Not giving in so easily, he gives the concierge a generous tip and asks if he knows of some underworld places. The concierge quickly pockets his Cr.50 note and tells him that the Silver Helm in startown has a bit of a reputation.
The other party members are also getting bored sitting around at the hotel and so agree to accompany Nick. They take the air/raft back to the star town and the GPS quickly reveals the Silver Helm to them. The place is as sleazy as they were expecting; a motley collection of spacers, Vargr and bikers. Nick goes to the barman and asks if there are any games going. A tip of Cr.100 results in the barman indicating that they should try the back room.
The doors opens to reveal four seedy looking characters, each of who has a minder. They check that Nick has a minimum of Cr. 10,000 to stake and start to play. Nick is completely out of his league among these semi-pros. He does manage to win one game but, after half an hour of play, he’s down Cr. 13,000 and the others manage to convince him to quit before things get even worse.
One advantage of Nick’s losing streak is that the formerly frosty players are now very friendly. Sin asks them if they know of a chemist. They do – ‘Pete the Pill’ as he is known. One of the players gives him a call and they set up a meeting for the same place the following evening at 10pm.
The party members have another couple of drinks with their new friends and then head back to the hotel after a long day.