Zanzibar decides to spend some time in simulspace, feeling stressed after the gun battle. Nataly, feeling trusting, reveals that her real name is Iskra, and welcomes her teammates referring to her as such. Anna and Iskra head back to the Does Not Compute after talking to the captain, and calming him down a bit about the bomb threat. Val and Corvus stay aboard to fiddle with ship and check for traps. Corvus takes them in a bit closer to the ‘DNC’ so that they will have an easier time crossing the gap.
Endo Apsol shows Anna and Iskra that the assassin who had been aboard the ‘DNC’ had an emergency farcaster and killswitch implant, which transmitted and then fried their stack. The pirates appear pretty run of the mill. Three have been captured alive, bound, and detained. The other 5 are either dead or floating in space, having been blasted off of the hull in the external firefight. Anna and Iskra request the opportunity to interrogate the captives, and the captain agrees, with some conditions.
He tells them that, usually, a captain would gain any ships captured in space combat, but that since he is a businessman, and his business involves not getting himself and his passengers killed, and since the pirates and assassins were clearly after the team, he wants them all off of his ship. So, he proposes that the team take the The Outlander, after his engine crew have taken some parts to temporarily repair the damage to the ‘DNC’. The team agress, after some deliberation, once Corvus confirms that this will not leave them crippled.
They then question the three captives: two males and one female, all in bouncer morphs. One of the males is unconscious. They don’t respond to questioning. Iskra browses their thoughts and finds out that the female is in charge. They talk Apsol into letting them take her to their ship, Apsol says he is turning the other two in once they reach Titan. They take her, and after the crew of ‘DNC’ gets their parts, they part ways.
Aboard the ‘Outlander’, Corvus gets them underway, plotting a course and manually entering it, as the computer locks him out. After a bit of travel, Iskra and Anna begin questioning the pirate. They end up laying bad cop/worse cop, with Iskra probing her mind, and Anna kicking her in the ribs. She caves after the mind probe, seemingly freaked out by Iskra’s async abilities. She introduces herself as Orly, and offers a deal: she will give them the computer codes, answer their questions, and help fix up the ship if they let her stay aboard for a bit and don’t turn her in on Titan, as she is wanted there. The team agrees, and let her loose-the codes she provides are good, and she seems to be telling the truth, so they decide to trust her, for know.
She tells them that the couple from the ‘DNC’ hired them, naming them Mr and Ms Willaby. The crew of the ‘Outlander’ were a smalltime pirate/scavenger crew, and had recently boosted that vessel, and renamed and scrubbed it. They were supposed to either capture or kill the three original team members (they didn’t yet know of Iskra and Val), cripple and raid the ‘DNC’ to cover it up a bit, and then give the couple a ride off. Once they are within range of Titan a few days later, Corvus confirms enough aspects of this story that he believes her.
Bringing the ship in, it seems that the codes that Apsol gave them are good, but Corvus gets a Triad contact to get false tags ands registry for him once they land. He makes an ass of himself, and ends up having to pay the guy for it as well. Also, Corvus is mildly distressed to find that the 49’er recognizes him from last time he was here, which Corvus of course has no memory of. With the help of Val and Orly (who stays aboard), he fixes up the ship pretty well, renaming it the ‘ Pariah’. Val gives everyone the address for the local Firewall friendly backup tech.
Meanwhile, Anna does some research on her mysterious past, and finds out that she is a graduate of an accredited university on Mars, with a focus on archeology and xenobiology. She also finds out that she was in an extreme rush to get to Pandora last time she was here, and was scrabbling to get gear and passage organized. Iskra finds the most popular/exclusive club in town, 10 AU, and plans to make her debut there the following night, once her trendsetting outfit design is manufactured. She then goes to a bar to compulsively mingle, and meets a student who has an interest in gatecrashing, and directs her to Arturo Sandoval, a TAU gatecrashing expert. She goes home with the student later on.
The next day, Anna and Iskra go to see Sandoval, and manage to talk him into helping them put together a grant proposal to get funding from TAU for their gate use-this will allow them to access the gate, although they haven’t planned out how to get to their exact destination yet, as those coordinates might arouse suspicion. They also get a lot of useful info about gates and gatecrashing in general.
Later on, they meet up with Corvus (who Anna dresses to complement her outfit), and Iskra picks up her amazing get-up. They show up to the club, and Iskra gets waved in, past the line, and manages to get Corvus and Anna in too. Corvus invites some Triad guys along, but fails to get them in and loses some rep. Iskra socializes while Anna dances, and both make fast ‘friends’ with some local glitterati, including Mindy X., a part-time model and designer. Iskra goes home with her later on, and gifts her the trendsetting outfit. All three gain some f-rep from being seen at the club.
They then retreat to the ship to write up the grant, and start researching the death of their other selves’ local proxie, Ben Johanssen.