Thirty-six hours after leaving Greenleaf, the Ghost docked at Skyplex Domino. The space station was another disreputable way point in the ‘Verse. Chan hoped to refuel, restock supplies, and to unload the ten cryochambers left by the mad monk’s men. Not wanting a hassle Chan settled on the first offer she got which was one percent of the cargo’s value or 130 credits. Using this money Chan had the ship refueled. Everyone shared in buying food, but William and Chan added more to buy some canned and fresh foods plus spices.
Checking up on local rumors, Li Ming discovers shippers were needed on Hera, not having any better leads, the Ghost goes to Hera. Chan insists on visiting Serenity Valley, whole crew pays respects then visits town. Cindy locates a cargo. Captain negotiates to carry twenty-five horses to the planet Harvest, a six day trip plus one passenger for 270 credits at charter rates. During the loading of feed and animals to be loaded just prior to take off, a disheveled woman in greasy, baggy coveralls trades a few quips with Williams, who manages to charm the woman with his wit. She makes it clear that she’d like to share a drink later and William makes the offer to meet later. He arrives and finds the woman Jessica O’Bannion is stunning when cleaned up. Williams is somewhat off put, but she is so charming that he hits it off with her, even if more awkwardly than he otherwise might do.
Next morning crew learns that Jessie is the daughter of the shipper and will be their passenger. As soon as the horses are aboard, Marsh makes an incredibly smooth take off that keeps the horses completely at ease. Cindy and Xavier assisted Jessie with caring for the horses during the trip. The animals thrive due to the fine care and the connection between William and Jessie does as well. During the reentry to Harvest, the port alluvial dampener blows out forcing Marsh to set down out in the boonies. Willis quickly diagnoses the problem and parts are required. The parts are fairly common, but the ‘Ghost set down so far out that even by hover car, it will take a full day to reach port, another to return and a full day to install the parts.
Chan decides a drive will be needed to get the horses to the O’Bannion ranch. Marsh and Willis immediately depart for port to get parts, as the rest of crew seal up ship then head out via horseback. Jessie is in her element and keeps the drive going. Chan, Xavier, and Li Ming all suffer the ignominy of being thrown.
In town, some toughs try to make life tough for Marsh and Willis, but Willis’s smooth talking gets them out of the jam. They spend the night in town and rive back the next day, arriving too late to do the work. Next day, the horses arrive at the ranch and Jessie introduces William to her family. Ship arrives two hours later. Rest of crew keeps to ship as William goes to dinner with Jessie. Dinner goes very badly with nothing Williams says or does being taken well. As Jessie’s family is all fit, William is certain it is his size they dislike. Jessie apologies profusely, but William is not in a mood to listen.
First thing in morning ‘Ghost goes to town to look for work. Cindy again locates a cargo, but it will take three days to acquire. William buries himself in work despite hints from Chan to try talking to Jessie. Second night William gets good and drunk and has to have help in getting back to ship from Marsh & Willis. Xavier finally talks William into contacting Jessie. However, when William calls Jessie isn’t available. William speaks to her brother Jacob. William is told that while Jessie is not wealthy, she is due to inherit the ranch which is quite valuable. Her parents have set up an arranged marriage that will make her financial status even higher. Jessie does not want to do this, but the true problem is that William is only an itinerant spacer, his size has no bearing on her parents dislike him. Thanks Jacob for setting the record straight.
The night before departure, Jessie shows up at ‘Ghost and demands to speak to William. She wants to know why he’s been avoiding her! He is dumbfounded thinking she’s been avoiding him. After some cross checking, it is clear her parents were keeping them from speaking. Jessie is furious and makes it clear she wants to be with him. William thinks long and hard before replying, he then tells her that her place is on Harvest with her family and land. His life is not for someone not raised with an open sky. William then tells her she needs to go. Despite his logic she hesitates, he gently repeats that the black is no place for an equestrian. She finally relents and leaves. Both walk away in tears.