Mustered Out on Mertactor

294-1106

A Geological Excursion

The party members meet up for breakfast, as usual. Max has a busy day ahead of him, needing to sell the cargo that they brought from Tarkine, arrange the loading of Jeri’s load before buying more cargo for the first leg of the trip to Noctocol. Autumn also has a busy time ahead of her in looking for passengers on the trip. The party members decide to set the date for departure as 18.00 on 297.

The others, however, have little to do, so decide to join Jie and Will on their trip to the surface of Dallia so they can see the strange underground city for themselves.

They head for the shuttle port after they have finished their breakfast. A return trip to the surface is quite expensive – Cr.500 per person, but it’s not going to put to much of a dent into their finances.

They learn the reason for the high price of shuttle trips when they take the trip. The shuttle that they travel on is an old heavy ship, its thick sides pockmarked with corrosion damage. Everyone is told to strap themselves in tightly before the shuttle leaves Heaven’s Gate. The shuttle takes off at top acceleration, pushing everyone back into their acceleration couches as it heads for Dallia’s atmosphere.

The atmosphere seems unremarkable at first but, as the shuttle cuts through gaps in the grey clouds, there are glimpses of the silver sea of mercury below. The shuttle seems to be travelling alarmingly fast as the surface gets closer and closer, but then the shuttle gives the drive full reverse thrust as it gets closer to the small downport. The shuttle comes to land in a small cavern only slightly larger than the shuttle itself. Everyone is told to stay in their seats as a roof closes over the cavern and the shuttle is sprayed with streams of an alkali liquid to strip away the corrosive elements now coating the shuttle. It takes 20 minutes until the ship is finally clean and the toxic atmosphere in the airlock has been replaced with oxygen.

The party members file out of the shuttle and then Will leads them into the labyrinth of tunnels that comprise the habitable parts of Dallia. For a geologist, the composition of labyrinth is fascinating – seemingly all formed by rock which has been fused in some way until it is as bright, smooth and glossy as white glass.

Meanwhile, while the others are enjoying their day trip, Max is hard at work. He spends most of the day looking for buyer for the cargo, but realizes that it’s going to take a while. Autumn makes better progress during the day and it looks as if she should have a full complement of passengers ready for departure.

The rest of the party members spend a full day investigating to labyrinth of Dallia. The novelty wears off after a while – after all it all looks pretty much the same, but is repeated seemingly ad infinitum for kilometre after kilometre and so they take the last shuttle back up to the highport.

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NickPendrell

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