Having been briefed by Marcus Decumius, the Acolytes prepared their equipment for the warp trip to the planet of Novabella. The embarked on the Navy Destroyer “His Enduring Light” at noon the following day. The warp trip took 7 days, during which time the Acolytes got to know each other, and planned how their investigation would proceed.
After much discussion, it was decided that Katarina and Telion would pose as crew of the shuttle that would deliver them to Novabella’s space port. The rest would act as the official party sent to renew contact with the world.
Upon reaching orbit His Enduring Light attempted to make contact with the space port, but received no reply. After a brief discussion it was decided to descend to the surface, and attempt to raise the space port during the descent. Roughly 10 minutes before making landfall the shuttle pilot made contact, and received permission to land. A small party of officials waited to greet the newcomers.
“Greetings, unexpected travellers, I am Everfast Kathrinkas, Planetary Governor of Novabella, to what do we owe the pleasure of this unexpected visit?”
“Greetings Governor, I am Brother Harthos of the Ecclesiarchy. We have been sent to this planet, as it was recently noticed that this planet has not has any contact for some twenty years. We have been sent to ensure that all is well on the planet, and to ensure that regular communication can be restored.”
“Ah, that is indeed good news, we have been isolated here for more than 20 years since the sudden death of our Astropath. With no Astropath we have been unable to initiate any sort of communication, and have been wondering when a ship would visit next for many years now. But come, you must be tired after your shuttle trip, I will arrange accommodation for you, and you can make yourselves comfortable. May I suggest we meet at lunch time to discuss official business after you have had time to refresh yourselves?”
“Thank you Governor, that would be most kind of you.”
After the greeting party had departed, Katarina and Telios spent some time feigning to perform post-flight checks on the shuttle. As they were doing this they observed the surrounds. It looked much like any other backwater space port, except the guards stationed at exits and lazily patrolling looked as though they barely understood the exact reason for their presence. Having sized up the situation Katarina made her way over to the nearest, bored looking guard.
“Ah, greetings, I have spent many months on board ship, and have now the opportunity for shore leave. Is there bar in space port?”
“Y-Yes, there is, how about I show you where when I finish my shift in an hour?”
“That sounds excellent”
Katarina and Telion made their way to the space port bar an hour later, and located the young guard from before.
“Ah, greetings, I hope you don’t mind, but I brought my friend Telion along too”
“No, not at all, actually, we’re all rather excited to meet someone from off world after all this time”
“Oh, you don’t get many visitors?”
“No, it’s been years since the last ship visited, I don’t think any of us would remember. I reckon the only one here who would remember would be Garthon, the barman”
“Ah, well, let me me talk to barman, and buy a round of drinks for you. What are you drinking?”
“Oh, we usually just drink the ale, can’t really afford much more on a soldier’s pay, y’know”
“Ah, well, we’ll have to change that, won’t we? Excuse me? Garthon? Finest Amasec all round for my friends here, please!”
“Certainly Ma’am, that will be 200 thrones”
“Here is 300, keep change. I wonder if you remember last ship to visit planet?”
“Oh, well, now, that would have been the “Emperor’s Light”, if memory serves me correctly. Visited 23 years ago to collect tithes. We’ve not had another ship visit since until today"
Katarina turned back to the soldiers at the bar “Here, let us celebrate this momentous occasion with finest Amasec!” With this she drained her glass with one gulp.
Te rest of the soldiers looked on in awe. “Er, wow, that’s like a weeks worth of wages you’ve just knocked back there!”
“Ah well, I have plenty of pay in account, and not much chance to spend it, I should make up for lost time, don’t you think? Now, why don’t you tell me about your planet here?”
“Well, there’s not a lot to know, the peasants grow food and catch fish, it gets turned into ration bars, and sent of for the tithes. Well, it would do, except there’s been no tithes collected”
“So, if no tithes are collected, what happens to food?”
“Oh, each year they build another warehouse to keep the food. It’s just as well you lot turned up, or the whole planet would be warehouses eventually.”
“Surely food cannot keep that long?”
“Oh, you haven’t tried the ration bars then. Even if they were off it’d be hard to tell”
“Ah, not finest dining then?”
“Oh no, far from it”
“Well, it has been good meeting you, unfortunately I must return to ship and rest, perhaps we might catch up here again tomorrow?”
“Er, yes, that would be great!”