Characters: Slade, Gvarokh, Lakir, & Vlad
Location: Miishakaal, then Shatison
1125.8.7 - 10:05 Standard Imperial Time, 10:03 Standard Vland Time, 08:53 Local Time
After talking to the captain, Slade had decided to comm his sleeping crewmates. He informed them that he's headed into Shatison to do some shopping. Gvarokh, Lakir, and Vlad replied that they were willing to go, though they needed some time to shower, get dressed, etc. Slade decided to be a sport and wait for them.
Rather than taking time for breakfast, each grabbed a nutritious breakfast bar on their way out. Even the vargr have their own line tailor made to their tastes.
At last the four of them are leaving the ship. Gvarokh wears his tailored cloth armor. Lakir wears his trusty utility vest, which holds his PDA, Comm unit, and pocket tool. Vlad wears his cloth armor. Slade just wears the clothes on his back. None of them are carrying any weapons.
As they make their way down the gantry arm to the starport gate, Slade notices Lakir's utility vest, "Lakir, is that utility vest as handy as it looks?"
"I need to get me one of those."
"They're easy enough to find."
The four men make their way through the starport to the public grav trains. A quick check of the schedule, enables them to figure out the route system. They board one that's headed to the closest commercial district. The trains move fast and in no time at all, they're dropped off at the local station.
Through casual conversation you learn that Lakir and Vlad are looking for weapon sims. Slade is looking for a quality blade and a utility vest or two. Gvarokh isn't shopping for anything in particular. He just needs to get off the ship for a while.
Lakir uses his PDA to log in to the InfoNet and finds that there's a store (Egor's Electronic Emporium) catering to electronic entertainment. Although carrying firearms around isn't permitted, weapon sims appear to be legal. The store's website has the same brand that Simrii owns (Lakir remembered the manufacturer and the model) but it's marketed as a toy for adults.
Lakir also finds a sporting goods store that has the vests and blades that Slade is looking for. He says, "Let's hit the sportin' goods, first, see what sort o' legal goodies we can get. Who knows, might be able to find some neat stuff for my piece..."
Gvarokh adds, "Sounds good. One of those vests might work out pretty well."
The group heads up a set of stairs, leaving transportation level TN-03 and entering the brightly lit commercial level CN-01. CN-01 has the feel of a mall that goes on and on and on, but rather than stopping at one or two levels in height, there are 10 levels before the ceiling. Fortunately, the sporting goods store (Hrun Outfitters formerly Imperial Outfitters) is only two blocks away on this level.
The mall is moderately crowded. Although it's early morning locally, Hrun operates round the clock and all week long. Its ample population is enough to keep all shifts staffed. The orbital port city of Shatison is no exception.
Once inside Hrun Outfitters, the party makes its way to the jacket section. Slade finds the utility vests he's looking for in a whole array of colors. He's trying to decide between tan, green, urban camo, and forest camo. At $450 a pop, buying all four would be possible, though not fiscally prudent, so he opts for the green one.
Now that Slade has decided on his utility vest, he makes his way over to the knife display. There are many styles to choose from. He eyes a big single-edged knife with serrations on the back (like a kabar marine knife) and a black finish. He asks the sales clerk to see it.
The blade is super light, maybe half the weight of a normal stainless steel blade.
The clerk explains, "It's made from a carbon fiber reinforced foam titanium alloy. It's also stain resistant and the pommel is suitable for hammering."
Slade notes that the price tag is $280.
The clerk continues, "If that's too expensive, we have the same style blade made from a carbon fiber reinforced foam steel alloy." He pulls what looks like the exact same blade out from the display case.
Slade notes that the weight is midway between the titanium alloy blade and a normal stainless steel blade. The cost is $90. "Will it put up with the same level of abuse?"
"Almost," the clerk replies. "Titanium being superior to steel..."
"Why the price difference?"
"Weight is part of the reason, but it's because titanium is a rarer material."
Slade mulls it over, then opts for the steel blade.
Lakir, looking around, trying to spot the firearms section but doesn't see one. He does find an optics area.
To the boys, he asks, "Hey, wadda' figure...think the Capn'd like one o' them tan utility vests?"
Gvarokh says, "Actually I was thinking of getting one myself. Are they only styled for humans?"
"If they ain't got your size, Slade or Chuck might be able to modify it for ya. And hey, Slade, I'm still lookin for some superdense chicken plates. Figure we can hit a machine shop on the way back?"
Slade shrugs, "Sure."
The clerk interjects and tries to get Gvarokh's attention, "Sir? We carry vargr as well. They're closer to the back. Next rack over."
Gvarokh returns to the area where Slade was looking for utility vests and sure enough, he finds vargr styled utility vests. Although they don't carry the quantity of the human varieties, they still offer the same variety. In fact they offer more. There are two styles that are quite colorful, so much so that humans actually flinch at the sight of them.
Fortunately, Gvarokh finds plenty that fit him correctly, though he has to decide if he plans on wearing it over his cloth armor or without. He finds that they have both tan and urban camo in his size.
Pleased with the selection before him, Gvarokh finds it difficult to make a choice. He opts for an urban camo version to go well with his armor, after holding onto the more colorful varieties for a long time. He notes that the price is $280, the same as Slade's.
Meanwhile, Lakir has made his way over to the optical equipment section.
"May I help you," asks a female clerk.
"I'm lookin' for some image converter bino's, complete with some software clips, and mebe' an attached laser ranger/designator and inertia guidance package, and cables compatible with my PDA..." He waves the PDA.
"Sure, right over here. And you don't have to worry about cables, I'm sure that what we have will wirelessly integrate with your PDA."
Lakir sees basically the same model with four different price tags, "What's the diff?"
"The more expensive models have greater onboard memory, greater visual range, and longer battery life." She presents him with a list of specs.
Short Range in meters. Weight in kilograms. Battery Life in
days. Price in credits.
In all models, laser rangefinder is good out to max range, though accuracy decreases a small amount the further you go out due to atmospheric diffraction (assuming there is an atmosphere to contend with).
Lakir opts for model C.
Slade pays for his purchase while Vlad waits by the door, looking amused.
Gvarokh soon joins them to pay for his purchase. Several minutes later Lakir joins them to pay for his spiffy binoculars.
Once outside the question becomes, "Where to next?"
(This part GM'd by Ewan Quibdell)
Coming out of Hrun Outfitters you head in the direction of Egor's Electronic Emporium, which will only take a couple of minutes to reach. Lakir checks his PDA for a listing of weapons retailers, and machine shops, concentrating on those closest to the port. The search for weapons shops come back with a complete blank although there is a link to the security services offering to field any further enquiries.
Machine and Fabrication shops are a different matter and numerous appear on the screen. Mishaa's is closest to your current position, while Fantastic Fabrications is closest to the ship.
Egor's Electronic Empirem has a large glass frontage of amazing and strange combinations of colours and in the selection of good accompanying each other, and while this is a little confusing to the humans it's the first shop frontage that holds any interest to Gvarokh and Vlad. The shop is large and the range of goods on show looks extensive, while the uniforms and the self labelling clash, or so it seems to Slade and Lakir.
Gvarokh and Vlad notice a distinctive odor as they enter, one that is distinctly vargr.
Lakir turns to the nearest shop assistant, a young Vargr, and asks about a gauss pistol chip compatible with Simrii's weapon sim, and any available PDA upgrades. He mentions the possibility of some hardware, possibly a HUD eyepiece, interface chips for his IR/LI goggles and new binos, expanded memory, interface for my language translator, maybe a processor upgrade, and asks what they have in the way of compatible small cams/mics.
The Vargr shop assistant looks at both Gvarokh and Vlad before answering "Err, yes sir. We have the complete range of sims for that model, and any number of upgrades for your model of PDA. Most of our equipment comes with standard interface protocols for real time data transfer and interactive access."
He turns to the display stand next to him and takes out a data pad that he presents to Lakir. "Pricing and availability can be accessed through this sir, and if we don't have it available from the store we can usually acquire and deliver the items in 72 hours." The data pad has the details of the item that is closest to you, with compatible and competing products listed on the side, what other items customers brought when they purchased this item, price listings, data sheets, commercial comparisons and reviews. As you take a step back and the nearest item changes the documentation changes to the new item, with links showing for other items in the vicinity, and a search facility to use if you so wish.
The young Vargr turns slightly and indicates down the shop a way “The sims are over there sir and the other equipment is around the shop. The shop layout can be accessed via the ‘layout’ link at the top. To order indicate the number you would like in the box here Sir,” the Vargr point out the ordering box “and insert you cash card in the reader and the goods should be ready for when you leave. Can I help you with anything else?”
Lakir thanks the clerk in Gvegh, and steps off to the side to examine the details. The clerk responds with a bark that implies "you're welcome" and leaves you to it.
As you step away the view changes to the nearest item. This is the main unit to Makhidkarun's Llii1320 a home total sensory entertainment system. The list of accessories is staggering (the total sensory suit catches your eye), and product reviews seem to show this is the market leader on Hrun, produced locally. Naasirka's 6250 is the nearest commercial comparison, and you can see it on the shelf not 2 metres away, and the comparison's place the 6250 as the better product, but you pay for the quality. There are a couple of locally produced units, from local Hrun companies, which are of a higher technical specification and a lower price tag, but you don't get support services or warrantees you get from Makhidkarunm or Naasirka. Price tag for the Llii1320 is Cr14,995, there are payment terms if you provide Hrun residency documentation otherwise it's cash upfront.
Vlad picks up another data pad and walks over to the weapon sim section, followed by the others. The items on the pad change as you walk past them in the shop, and this can be quite strange to watch and perhaps a little unnerving.
Stopping both Vlad and Lakir are presented with an astounding array of available sims, as far as you can tell every Interstellar Arms small arms product up to Hrun technology can be obtained including Lakir's gauss pistol and Vlad's ACR and body pistol. You think it's possible to pick up sims for each small arm on the Miishakaal. Each sim is priced at Cr29.
Selecting sims Lakir orders a Strausse/Markham 4mm Gauss Pistol, and Vlad orders two one for his ACR and another for his NE-58 Body Pistol. When entering the order on the data pads a pop-up shows you that there is currently a special offer for a free sim, that of an Interstellar Arms standard pump action shotgun if you purchase five adaptor simulators.
Lakir picks up chip for the captains model Body Pistol, and Vinny's gauss rifle, and changes his order to include Vlad's ACR and his NE-58 Body Pistol to qualify for the bonus. "I'll pick it up in one so we can get the bonus." Vlad barks agreement and cancels his order.
You move over to the PDA section that is mainly memory and processor upgrades to turn them into real handcomputers, although there is a staggering amount of software available. Handcomputers are on sale as well from prices ranging from Cr800 for TL11 ones to Cr1,100 for TL13 ones. There are a dozen or so models on the shelf and more listed on the data pads.
Lakir considers the PDA to handcomputer upgrade for a moment before moving on to check on other goods, although he bookmarks the upgrade for quick reference.
The part of the store that is the most surprising is the field electronics section. Most if not all of the IISS electronic field equipment is available, mainly as it's manufactured locally by Makhidkarun and Naasirka. Combination Masks, Cameras, External Microphones, Map Boxes, Inertial Locators, Atmospheric Testers, G Packs, Data Display Headsets, Lasercom Relays, Comm Dots, Communicators, Language Translators, Multichronometers, Gyrocompass, Med Scanner, PRIS Glasses, Image Converter Binoculars, Neural Activity Sensors, and the list goes on...
Looking closer at the pricing of the inertial locators shows that the latest model is a snip at Cr500, even has an integrated magnetic compass for those planets that do have magnetic fields, has standard interfacing protocols and will fit nicely in your pocket. There is an older version that has been squaddie proofed and lacks any additional features. It has a 14 day battery life as opposed to the 28 day life of the latest model, however it looks like it wouldn’t break if you dropped it orbit. It costs more at Cr1,000, but you expect it would last a lifetime.
The data headset come in left and right versions depending on which eye you are more compatible with. A small transparent screen comes from the headset over your eye and projects a image to a screen size of your choosing from what looks like wall size to a standard HUD in full colour 3D that synchronises with audio streams as necessary. The eye screen can be removed to allow the headset to project a standard 3D HUD through a Vaccsuit helmet although there are some warnings that it may not be suitable for soft helmet use. The headset will set you back Cr5,000 and has a battery life of 7 days while being small enough so you don't notice you are wearing it.
Lakir places an order for the latest model of inertial locator, and looks around for any second hand refurbished data headset units on the off chance. He finds only brand new items offered for sale throughout the shop and not a mention of any second hand stuff.
Accessing the bookmark for the PDA section the datapad display overlays the layout of the section upon the current one that fades in to the background. Lakir is presented with a kind of virtual tour of the section that can be navigated on the overlay. Moving through the virtual PDA section Lakir chooses the upgrade pack for his PDA model for full capabilities (enough to run a jump-1 program on if needed).
With everything ordered you all head towards the exit, and see the clerk you spoke to earlier taking a package out of the wall behind him, which he hands to Lakir.
Gvarokh and Vlad have no trouble, but Lakir only catches the gist of the sentence, while Slade has no idea, when the clerk says in Gvegh "Attach your bank card and authorise the orderrr."
Almost together Gvarokh and Vlad's ears prick up as they snap at the clerk, who visibility shrinks a little and changes to Galanglic. "Please attach your bank card and authorise the order." Doing so Lakir receives his goods and both Gvarokh and Vlad don't give the clerk a second look as you get back out in the Mall.
Having successfully spent money at Egor's Electronics Emporium, Lakir consults his PDA for more places to spend money at. He does a search for a fabrication shop, a used electronics store, and a ship's chandlery. The closest fab shop is "Fantastic Fabrications" and it is on the way back to the train station. The closest used electronics store, "Second Hand Circuits", is some distance (approx 1 kilometer). And the ship's chandlery, "Dipuukamshule Ship Supplies", lists an address but states that appointments are required, though one may interact with them via their InfoNetsite. All one has to do is click the link to "Customer Service Agents."
Lakir comms Second Hand Circuits and inquires about pre-owned or refurbished data headsets. They inform him that they have some at 2,500 cr.
"Why so expensive?"
"Demand is so high that people are willing to pay that much for 'em. The local manufacturer has a monopoly on them and refuses to increase production, stating they'd never recoup the capital investment. Course everyone knows that's bullshit."
"Ok, thanks," he replies.
Lakir then uses the customer service link on the Dipuukamshule Ship Supplies Netsite to inquire after a Vacc Suit Hard Bubble Helmet with HUD, compatible with his ship's issue model, as well as pricing on both High Pressure and Ultra High Pressure O2 tanks, again, compatible with his vacc suit, and with a questioning glance at Slade, any fittings or adaptors required to recharge from the Miishakaal's life support plant ("Standard fittings" is the reply).
The hard bubble helmet with HUD costs 1200 cr.
High Pressure air tanks are available for 300 cr each. Ultra High Pressure air tanks are not available.
Lakir also asks for pricing on a Metalwork Tool Set. The price is 1000 cr.
"Ok, thanks," he replies. "I'll be in touch."
Terminating the connection, Lakir says to the group, "Ok, off to Fantastic Fabrications."
Vlad grows restless. After his stomach growls, he asks, "Food, anyone?!?"
Gvarokh pipes up and says, "That's a great idea! Let's grab food, then hit Fantastic."
"Sure...lets see what's close.." He pulls out his PDA and finds a few places between Egor's Electronic Emporium and Fantastic Fabrications. It depends on what you're in the mood for. There's the local Astroburgers (fast food chain), El Matador (Solomani - Mexican restaurant chain), Shakiiralii Sandwiches (Vilani-Solomani fast food chain), The Wandering Shugilii (Vilani restaurant chain), Shatison Shugilii (Vilani restaurant), and The Erstwhile Ersonite (pub fare). Lakir, looking at Vlad and Gvarokh, says "Name the place boys, you're the one's that'a been cooped up the longest."
Gvarokh answers, "I would prefer one of the Vilani sit-downs, The Wandering Shugilii or Shatison Shugilii. No fast food for me today."
Vlad barks, "Pub sound ok?"
Gvarokh blinks, wondering if no one heard him. He sighs, "I can go for that, as long as they hand a menu and you order from a waiter. I don't want to read the menu on the wall and order from a cashier."
Vlad settles the matter, "Yah! It is done then. To the pub we go!"
A few minutes later you arrive at The Erstwhile Ersonite. Stepping inside you see a long bar on the right, heading back about 10 meters. The decor is faux rock and wood. A dividing wall, open 2 meters up with more of the same faux materials, runs down the middle of the place. The left half of the place is filled with booths and tables. The place is lightly crowded, with maybe a dozen people in the place (4 at the bar, the rest seated on the left).
A hologram above the doorway indicates that you should seat yourself.
You opt for a booth in the back of the place. Lakir feels comfortable knowing that he can duck out either through the kitchen or the emergency exit.
Shortly after you sit, a waitress comes over to your table and hands you e-menus. She introduces herself as Clarissa. She looks to be mid-20's with a petite build. She informs you that to order, you just press a hot spot on the menu to indicate that you want the item. Information on the food item can be found in a similar fashion. She can also be summoned via the menu or through a button on the wall by the table. She asks if you'd like to place a drink order to get started.
Vlad speaks up, "A pint of something dark with a plate of something freshly killed, and I'll be happy." He smiles, though he tries not to scare the waitress.
She suggests the Shatison Stout to drink then points Vlad in the direction of the vargr section on the menu.
Lakir suggests a pitcher of beer and looks for something Vilani sounding. The Diimeshka Ale seems to do the trick. After a bit of arm twisting, he gets Gvarokh and Slade to join in with him.
The menu boasts that real animals are used in all entrees. No synthmeat or other artificially created (i.e. vat grown) meat products are used. Pleased to read this (especially the vargr), the orders go in: burgers for the humans and small steaks (appropriately warmed and seasoned) for the vargr, with a hearty basket of cheesy fries for all. The food arrives in a reasonable amount of time and turns out to be quite good.
Always attentive to possible sources of information, Lakir nonetheless doesn't pick up any chatter in the place of even the most remote interest.
The bill comes to 50 credits. It is split evenly and 6 cr tip is added to it.
After paying the bill, the group leaves the pub and heads to Fantastic Fabrications.
The entrance of the store features several chairs and sofas with data tablets. There are a few people here looking at the data tablets. One obvious spacer is talking with someone who works there (store logo on navy blue polo shirt). A 3D holoprojector is displaying an obscure object. Slade believes it to be a customized version of a jump grid frequency harmonizer, but isn't a 100% certain.
Everyone takes a seat as Lakir picks up a tablet. In essence, it's a catalogue featuring what the company can do. Directions state that when one has questions, or has selected what they needed, they can contact a fab rep. He tabs through the catalogue sections but fails to see what he wants. He pages a fab rep.
A couple minutes later, a tall blonde man (2 m) wearing the Fantastic Fabrications company shirt approaches your group. "Hello, I'm Zachariah. How may I be of help?"
Lakir explains that he's looking for a "threaded accelerator tube". When Zachariah asks about the size of the tube, he grows suspicious. "That's a gun barrel extension, isn't it. I'm sorry but local gun control laws prevent us from fabricating anything that might even remotely be used for firearms. Sorry."
Discouraged, but still hopeful, Lakir enquires about superdense metal plates. He explains in detail about how he wants to create storage pockets specifically for metal inserts.
Zachariah is surprised to hear that Lakir wants to insert the plates into his vest, "Aren't you worried that your vest will be bogged down by the weight? Superdense weighs twice as much as iron you know."
"It's not that heavy," Lakir replies, "I can get good protection with just 7.2 kilos. That ain't so bad."
Vlad pipes in, "It will be good exercise for him!"
Zachariah continues, "This is an unorthodox use. In order for it to work properly, we'll need to take some measurements. You'll want the plates to have a rough contour that matches your body. If we don't, the plates will be quite evident through your vest. You'll lose the element of surprise. Worse case scenario, they could tear the vest."
"What sorta time frame are we talkin'?"
"The measurements can be done now. They'll only take a few minutes. Then, we'll put your order in the queue to be poured into the mold. That will take 3-4 days due to the backlog we've got."
"Damn. We're leaving today."
"Well, we could take the measurements and a deposit today and have it ready for when you think you'll be passing this way again. Do it that way and I'll be able to knock 10% off the price."
"What sort of total price and deposit we talkin' bout?"
Zachariah uses the datapad to come up with a price, "Full price would be 710 credits. Throwing in the 10% discount would make it 640. We require a 50% deposit so we'd need 320 credits to get started."
"Hold on a sec." Lakir fires up his comm to contact the captain, "Hey Cap'n. It's Lakir."
"Why hello Lakir. Enjoying your shopping trip?"
"Sure. Tell ya all about it when we get back. Question for ya. Are we hittin' Hrun on the way back?"
"Hmmmm, hadn't given the return trip much thought yet. I'm still planning the outbound trip. Why do you ask?"
"I was looking to have something custom made for me. But seein' as we're not stickin' round, it ain't gonna be ready for a few days."
"I'm not clairvoyant Lakir," she says matter of factly, "I have no idea if we'll be coming back this way or not. But unless something goes terribly wrong, I don't see why not."
"You boys almost done? The fuel's purified and the cargo hold is full so we're just waiting on you at this point."
"Yes ma'am. After we wrap things up here we'll be on our way back to the ship.
Lakir turns to Zachariah,"Thanks for your time. I'll have to pass on the pre-order. Hopefully we'll be stayin' longer on the trip back."
He throws his hands out, palms up. "No worries. Thanks for coming by."
The four shoppers leave the store and make their way back to the grav train.
Next: Jumpspace: Hrun to Umilikha