28 10 09

Back on Terra there are news that the Vilani ambassador accuses Terra of espionage (which aren't entirely false accusations). Rory follows Megan to a hospital in Dublin and stays with her, hoping to patch things up as he's still in love with her. Julie fixes up the ship and gets to know a Vilani engineer on another trader (their crew has theme parties!), who is sweet and friendly, but spooked by Kanashii's presence on the ship and can tell Julie that Kanashii is "old nobility". Ben goes to report back from the Peraspra incidents to Monica De Lacerda from the Free Traders. The beautiful Mrs. De Lacerda acts very friendly and flirty, and gives Ben her card with her home number scribbled on the back, telling him to "call if he needs anything, anything at all".

The crew gets a message from Simon telling them to go seek out "old friends" on Nusku. They go see Admiral Mansfield of The Winston Churchill, who can tell them that Ben's youngest brother Philip has disappeared while on duty in Vilani space. His mission was to command a vessel called The Roald Amundsen with a small crew and some intelligence equipment, gathering and decrypting intelligence. Unfortunately, Mansfield's hands are tied as he has direct orders not to search for the missing ship or its crew.

Ben dislikes the emotional blackmail, but doesn't hesitate for long before he accepts posing as a smuggler to get into Vilani space to look for Phil. The Sparrow is filled up with supplies for "friends" of their Vilani contact Shugilamar, amongst the supplies are weapons. When Ben finds out that there are weapons on board, he realizes the punishment they risk if they are caught has suddenly become a lot more severe. He pressures Shugilamar for better payment, which he gets in the end. Rory goes on a date with the Indian hotel receptionist he dated when last he was on Nusku. Steven avoids his Vilani family, while Kanashii looks hers up. Thomasz and Julie try to explain to Shugilamar why his computer part won't fit in a computer of Terran design, and Ben has to intervene and fend the Vilani off to let the two crewmates get the job done.

There is some kind of power play going on between Kanashii and Shugilamar that has something to do with heritage and political power. John Smith, the navy guy sent by the intelligence officer to operate the tracking equipment, behaves rather strangely and some of the crew jest that he has to be a robot, or at the very least an autist. Julie, Thomasz and Ricky construct a brain scanner in their spare time, and John Smith is discovered to actually be some sort of hyper-advanced robot.

The Sparrow has now completed three jumps into Vilani space, and discovered two probes holding information on the Roald Amundsen's further destination.

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