At the end of the eighth day The Sleuth were considering their options. After lengthy debate, and a failed attempt by Technician Imani and Labourer Leon to offer assistance, Tarna decided to return Labourer (Farmer) Ichika to her home.
Tarna tasked Daniel and Panin for this task, and Point Commander Ivan who had been semi-officially assigned to them. They set out at roughly 10pm, none of them having had significant rest since the previous night. Meanwhile Tarna, Dmitri and Makalu got some rest.
At roughly midnight Ivan swerved off the road to avoid a Snow Raven feasting on carrion on the road. This cost the group time but not injury, though the Packrat's communication system was smashed during the recovery (by winch). The group made it to NAT (Northern Agricultural Township) around 6am, got to the farm and dropped off the twice chloroformed and then crashed farm wife, and were passing back through NAT at arounf 8am. Daniel saw some groups of lower caste people acting oddly but was too tired to stop and check it out. The trio headed back to LOST-B with an ETA of 4pm (on day nine).
On the morning of the ninth day Tarna checked with Imani about when the 'mechs could be ready and told they needed four hours for a full start-up so could be ready by noon. Tarna proceeded to find Biancha, whose team was one pilot short, and bid the pre-arranged challenge down to a leaders duel, one on one. After initially trying to pass this off as a new challenge by Tarna, Biancha then accepted the bid-down as she could spin it as protecting her subordinates from the team that killed cadet Lilly and limiting The Sleuth's possible points gain.
In the duel Tarna secured a good firing position, Biancha maneuvered for position and escaped some fire from Tarna's longer range (and higher damage) weapons.In an exchange of fire Tarna blew a leg out from Biancha's Kit Fox omnimech, and from this point the battle was a foregone conclusion. Biancha was wounded in the fall, but got her mech to its <s>feet</s> foot and valiantly returned fire. She was not able to penetrate the armor of Tarna's Adder omnimech, and Biancha's mech was downed. Biancha suffered more injury in the fall.
It should be noted that Tarna's team was down two pilots with Daniel and Panin off-base, and bidding down to a one on one match prevented Biancha from exploiting her numerical advantage (only down one pilot).
Meanwhile Makalu and Dmitri went to get The Stick examined. Makalu knew her Communications Equipment trainer Scientist Bell (Heisenberg) was an expert in high energy systems and generators and might be a good one to contact. Scientist Bell did a lot of work with KF Drives and HPG communications, and was able to offer multiple but semi-conflicting theories about how the stick could have materialized or coalesced or wave-form collapsed there, plus that the jump capable warship Bear's Den had performed a FTL KF Jump at exactly the time the stick had appeared. Since onw theory was that a catestrophic jump drive explosion/implosion/singularity might result in a KF-remnant, they were relieved that when they checked the Bear's Den had sucessfully completed its KF jump.
Meanwhile Dmitri was continually feeding on field rations and growing into his borrowed elemental ab/flak clothing at a remarkable rate. (But he got the all-clear, from the GM no less, that his conversion to elemental phenotype was complete).
Makalu also discovered there were protests in NAT over the death of a labourer and kidnapping of another, but the people were claiming Clan Nova Cat were responsible.
Makalu and Dmitri were shocked to discover Tarna's secret tigress business in the meantime.
After finally returning, Ivan took a nap, Daniel went to turn in early, and Panin who had napped en route went to try to do something nice for Ivan. He sought out an artist and found Rico who had done the paintings of Renaria and Tarna. Rico didn't really recognize Panin, and also had no idea who Ivan was so he assumed Panin was trying to get a painting of Wynn from The Quest. He also thought this was more targeting of The Quest by The Sleuth. Ultimately he refused to help at that time, given Tarna's tragically terrible reaction to his previous paintings. Rico seemed unusually calm about Panin's implied threat about how it would be a shame if he fell from such a great height, in fact he was suspiciously calm…
Trying to blow off steam, Panin went to the firing range. There she met Corin, a crack shot and fast draw specialist. Corin was of the opinion Panin had had a rough time, being passed up twice by the supervisors, and trying to question why. But neither one of them could explain the training officers suggestions.