After breakfast, everyone check out of the Offworlders Hotel and head back to the ship. Jasya comes with them – her connecting ship to Forine not departing for another four days.
Grim and Jan get back to work on the repairs while the others first take care of the prisoners. Will hands the four of them some filter masks, but the pirates are all dead even before they’ve reached the edge of the apron.
Autumn acts as chauffeur as she, Will, Jie and Jasya take the air/raft from its bay and head out to explore the rugged and exotic landscape of Noctocol. It’s primeval nature is fascinating for Will, being one of the youngest planets which he has ever investigated. Jasya gets a lot of good footage, urging Autumn to get as close as she dares to the erupting volcanoes.
They are out for several hours before Jie has had enough – after you’ve seen one erupting volcano from 100m away, you’ve seen them all, and so they had back.
Max has been overseeing deliveries while they were gone, so now the cargo, steel bars and the extra food that Autumn ordered are onboard.
Autumn asks Grim when he thinks the repairs should be finished. Grim tells her that it’s taking a little longer than expected, but he hopes that it will all be completed by midnight.
Autumn arranges to start boarding at 22.00. As well as the returning Valencia, the cougar; and the increasingly nervous banker, Eneri, she welcomes aboard the new passengers. The high passenger is Jackri Shadwell, a media mogul from New Rome/Glisten who is on a Grand Tour to see the sights of District 268.
The middle passengers are an unusual pair — the female impersonator celebrity, Wanda Faux-Pas, whose real name is Wendell Star, an Imperial native born on Glisten, and her/his booking agent, Bran Killebrew, who is another Impie from Glisten. They are heading to Elixabeth to entertain the Imperial Naval base personnel there before returning to the Imperium via Grote.
Autumn and the rest of the crew welcome the passengers onboard and Autumn immediately starts to cook dinner for them all while Grim and Jan finish the repairs. Max does his best to entertain the passengers as best he can. Wanda/Wendell proves to be surprisingly dull company, however. She seems to be very nervous – not at all like her outrageous onstage personality. With her and Eneri, Max really struggles to keep everyone entertained (apart from Valencia, who finds everything that Max says to be hilarious).
And so it is with relief when Grim calls Will over the intercom shortly before midnight to say that he and Gus have made as much of the repairs as they are going to make on Noctocol and so Will shall start the prelaunch sequence. Will calls Jie and Arvor onto the bridge to begin the sequence.
Grim changes out of his greasy overalls to give the bridge crew a status report.
“So Arvor’s turret is fixed now and all of the hull damage,” he says. “There’s just the armour that needs fixing now. I didn’t have enough spare parts to fix that as well. We’ll need to pick some more up on Elixabeth and then we can fix it there.”
Half an hour later and Unguin’s Princess is taking off, unwitnessed by anyone from the Port Authority, who are all off duty at this time of night. Half an hour later and the ship has pulled through the toxic atmosphere of Noctocol and is heading off to jump distance.
Noctocol is a large world and so the journey to jump distance is a long one. The passengers watch Noctocol disappear into a small dot behind them in the distance for a while, but then drift off to their beds, so that only the bridge crew are awake to see the ship entering hyperspace at 06.30 the next day.