Ah yes, the Diud’chi, one of the higher-TC races in the game. The Diud’chi tested their first successful wormhole drive in the late Pliocene Epoch and went on to have the highest TC in the game at TC-G. That means that the artifact in the ship’s hold is both ancient and several orders of magnitude more advanced than either the Vuchelk’shi or the Terran races.

On to the rules… As no one is considered to be in combat until it actually starts, the Vuchelk’shi get their opening shots using the noncombat rules, as though shooting at targets on a range. Once opening shots are fired or combat is “known” to have begun, anyone potentially affected by it can be considered to be “in combat” and skill rolls now go to combat resolution. In other words, for game purposes, the woman in the last panel and the guard about to kill her are both in combat as soon as shots are fired, even though they aren’t personally in the same immediate place as the shooting.