The journey from Egypt was one of the last eventful due to the fact that the Horkalites are the only passengers. Their nightly banquets are still greatly enjoyed by everyone though, even if Miranda has still not managed to convince any of them to join the faith.
It’s 05.00 when the alarm sounds on the crew deck to announce that the Princess has emerged from hyperspace. Will, Jie and Arvor get up and head for the bridge while the others just go back to sleep.
They don’t get much longer to sleep, however. As Mertactor is such a small world, it’s just a three hour trip to Searcheard Down and so everyone is up and ready for arrivals at 07.30.
Everyone watches the view of Mertactor filling the viewport, remembering that this was where their journey together started some 15 months earlier.
Will has his work cut out in landing at Searcheard as it is one of the trickier starports to land at. On the way down, Jie tells Will to alter course to avoid one of Mertactors many ‘drisk storms’, the unique Mertactan ‘rain of rocks’ which makes much of the small planet uninhabitable. At 08.30, however, Will manages to safely land the Princess in the allotted bay at the downport.
Due to a combination of having practically no cargo in the hold, Mertactor’s very liberal policy regarding imports and exports, plus the names of some of Mertactor’s top officials that Max is able to drop into the conversation, getting through customs takes a matter of minutes.
Max has a huge grin on his face as he rushes out of the airlock door with suitcase in hand.
“Right, a week’s holiday it is for Maxie-boy then,” he says as he rushes out. “I don’t care what ‘appens, don’t ‘assle me. It’s time to get me money’s worth out of the ShagMeister.”
And with that, he’s gone.
Autumn rolls her eyes and help the Horkalites to arrange transport of their goods back to their Restaurant/Monastery which takes a couple of hours.
She hugs them all goodbye as they leave, having become firm friends with all three of the Horkalites during the two long jumps together. Miranda tells Autumn and the others that they would be delighted to see the party members at their place if they are ever in the area. Autumn thanks them for their offer, but says that she really needs to spend some time with her mother.
“So what is everyone else doing?” Autumn asks. “You’re welcome to come with me to Daydah. There’s plenty of space to stay with me and Mum.”
Grim and Taeva decide to take Autumn up on her offer, having seen enough of Searcheard during their previous time on Mertactor. Will and Arvor decide to stay in the city to catch up on old friends though.
Autumn takes the AGC. Grim and Taeva join her as she puts her foot down and soon has the AGC up to top speed. Fortunately Mertactor’s liberal attitudes apply to speed limits as well. As a result it takes just four hours to make the journey before they see the vast ivy-draped obelisk of the Mertactan Legislature Building towering above the rest of the city built upon a series of low hills above the jungle surrounding it.
Autumn is grinning from ear to ear as she parks the AGC in front of a reasonably large house is a quiet suburb of the city and Grim and Taeva watch on as Autumn has a tearful reunion with her mother.
The remainder of the day is spent quietly. Autumn promises to show Grim and Taeva the many sights of the city the following day, but for now she just wants to catch up on old times with her mother who she hasn’t seen for over a year.