Note: All of the material on this page took place while the crew waited to be boarded by the corsairs.

Comm Call from the Corsair Captain

Character: Shiraamer
NPC: Corsair Captain
Location: Miishakaal and Enkongsuerrgvo bridges
System: Sardia (en route to jump point)

1125.11.7 - 06:38 Imperial Time, 23:38 Vilani Time

Shiraamer sits down in her chair on the bridge and glances over at the navigation computer. It reads that they're 12.8 diameters out. She asks the navigation computer to calculate the odds of a misjump. After giving her the standard spiel about how calculating the probability of mishap in a gravity well isn't an exact science due to random fluctuations in the fabric of space and numerous possibilities for unseen variables it spits out: 91.67% chance of misjump. 58.3% chance of catastrophic drive rupture.

"Too high," she mutters.

"Incoming message," the comm system announces.

"On screen."

Shiraamer immediately sees the same unfriendly face from before.

The Vargr Captain bears his teeth in a wild smile at Shiraamer.

Shiraamer casually raises an eyebrow and looks at the Corsair Captain. "Yes? You rang?"

The Vargr Captain's ears fold back across his head as his expression changes to a fiercer one, "Trying something stupid, or deviating from my instructions will get your crew and passengers killed pinkey."

Shiraamer wipes the smile off her face and lets her other eyebrow go up, "Excuse me? I've complied with what you requested. I have no idea what you are referring to. Perhaps you'd like to enlighten me?"

"If you don't know pinkey, then there is little point in me telling you about it." The Captain laughs in the typical Vargr way, long and loud, before closing the connection.

Shiraamer looks at the blank screen and sighs. One seldom knew if pirates were trying to bluff or if they actually knew something you didn't. No doubt the real answer was a little bit of both.

Hiding Stuff

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck, 6 medium passengers, 4 low passengers (unconscious)
Location: All over Miishakaal

06:40 Imperial Time, 23:40 Vilani Time

The meeting at the ship's locker has been over about 5 minutes, when Captain Shiraamer's voice comes in over the crewcom, "Hey guys, you must teach me some vargr swear words after this is over. I got a message from the captain of the other ship. Needless to say he's not very original but I thought I'd just pass the word along in case. He says, 'Trying something stupid, or deviating from my instructions will get your crew and passengers killed pinkey.' Like I said, not very original. I know that my orders have been in line with his instructions so I'm guessing that he's trying to bluff or just remind us that he has the upper hand. You guys coming along ok with your preparations? Hang in there guys. We'll live through this yet. Shiraamer out."

Meanwhile the crew continue on with their efforts to hide stuff. Vlad, Chuck, and Vincent are in their respective rooms hiding their weapons. Slade is in Engineering, making his way through the gel condenser coils. Simrii is walking along the port corridor on the lower deck looking for suitable access panels. Lakir is doing likewise along the starboard corridor.

Gvarokh has finished stuffing his handcomp into his vacc suit (tight!). He then hands Shiraamer her snub pistol and sets to looking for an access panel to hide his auto pistol.

He decides to use one across the hall from the ship's locker. It's normally used to access various power supply relay switches to the main computer, sensors, and various other ship's electronics. When he finishes, he grabs Shiraamer's newly purchased snub revolver and looks for a place to hide it.

Walking down the starboard corridor, he passes Lakir, who's busying stowing his weapons in the access panels for the starboard cargo lock machinery. He eyes the first of the two low berths. "It's probably best for them to die this way," he mutters to himself. He then stashes his auto pistol and the ammo in a panel behind the first of the low berths.

On his way back to the crew lounge, he stops to give Lakir a hand.

* * *

Slade has just finished stashing his guns within the compartment that houses the gel condenser coils when he hears someone enter Engineering.

"Who's there?" he calls out.

"Vlad! I want to hide my rifle within the fuel purification plant."

"Whoa! Not so fast. We just got the FPP fixed last month. Give me a minute and I'll give you hand."

Vlad decides to oblige him.

Chuck has finished hiding his daggers and returns to the crew lounge to find it vacant.

Simrii is in the midst of hiding his weapons in the access panels for the port cargo lock machinery and behind the low berths.

Vincent has finished hiding his gauss rifle in his room and moves on to the captain's stateroom. The door is locked of course, keyed only to the captain.

He comms the captain, "Uhhhh, captain. Your room is locked..."

"Oh, sorry Vincent." And immediately unlocks her room from the ship's security computer.

He steps inside, sighs, and tries to find Shiraamer's valuables.

Back on the bridge, Shiraamer watches Vincent enter her room. Motion in one of the windows on the security screen grabs her attention. A couple passengers have begun to panic. She has them on mute but she can guess the gist of what's being said.

She turns away and stares out at the space in front of her and Miisha. She watches one star in particular, which is slowly growing brighter. "That's them," she says to herself. It's been over half an hour since she surrendered to the pirates. "Seems longer."

She looks down at the nav computer.

Distance from planet: 21.8 diameters.
Chance of Misjump: 83.3%
Chance of Catastrophic Jump Drive Failure: 41.7%

Another Comm Call from the Corsair Captain

Character: Shiraamer
NPC: Corsair Captain
Location: Miishakaal and Enkongsuerrgvo bridges

07:00 Imperial Time, 00:00 Vilani Time

Twenty minutes after the Corsair Captain abruptly ended their comm call, he's calling Shiraamer again.

"Incoming message," the comm system announces.

"On screen," Shiraamer says with a tinge of annoyance.

Shiraamer immediately sees the same unfriendly face from before.

"Send me your crew, passangeerr, and cargo manifessstt. You have 30 seconds to complllyy."

Shiraamer looks at the same face without smiling. "I already sent it, but since you ask so nicely, I'll send it again." After sending the information again, Shiraamer cuts the transmission. With the connection cut, and the pirates unable to hear her, she softly says, "And don't lose it this time."

Seconds later alarms are going off on the bridge and throughout the ship.

"What?!" Shiraamer yells as she kills the alarm.

On screen, the computer displays a sensor readout that shows laser fire across the bow of the ship, an apparent warning shot.

The comm signals again. Shiraamer knows who it is. She puts the corsair captain on screen.

The Vargr Captain has a furious and hungry look in his eyes and is panting a little with his tongue slightly out of the left side of his mouth. He's on screen for a couple of seconds before he says anything in an obvious display of his charisma. "I told you not to do anything stupid pinkkkyy, but you cut the transmission halfway through mmmyyy instructionnss. Assure me it was a mistake before I reduce your ship to a floating hullk."

* * *

While in the midst of hiding their stuff, the crew hears an alarm resounding throughout the ship. It lasts for three seconds before shutting off.

Vincent, who's still hiding the captain's possessions, asks, "What was that?"

Gvarokh immediately looks up from helping Lakir and comms the Captain saying, "What the hell was that!?"

There's no reply at first. Then Chuck's voice comes in over the comm, "I think the captain did something to piss off the pirates."

* * *

Comm calls are coming in from the crew now, but Shiraamer has to ignore them for the moment and focus on what to say to the corsair captain who is breathing down her neck.

Shiraamer looks surprised and worried which is totally what she is, "Wha.... I didn't mean to cut you off! Really I didn't. I don't know how it happened. I was just getting ready to try and hail you back when you called me again. You said you had more instructions?"

The Vargr Captain cocks his head slightly to the left as he watches Shiraamer while she answers. "I will not repeat myself, and if you ignore my instructions I will kill youuu. I want to see the two Vargr members of your crew. Get them to the bridge."

The corsair keeps the comm open.

Shiraamer keeps her thoughts to herself. Opening up her comm to the crew she simply states, "I'm fine everybody. Vladgorkfeg and Gvarokh to the bridge please." She decides to use Vlads full name, something that she has only done once or twice before.

There is an uneasy silence as both captains await the arrival of Shiraamer's vargr crewmen.

* * *

About a minute after the alarm shut off, Shiraamer comes on the comm and says, "I'm fine everybody. Vladgorkfeg and Gvarokh to the bridge please."

Gvarokh immediately heads to the bridge.

Down in the port fuel skimming/purification room, Vlad growls.

Slade says to him, "You go on ahead. I'll hide your stuff."

Vlad thanks him and heads to the bridge.

Vargr Crew Summoned

Characters: Shiraamer, Vlad, Gvarokh
NPC: Corsair Captain, Chuck
Location: Miishakaal and Enkongsuerrgvo bridges

07:03 Imperial Time, 00:03 Vilani Time

Shiraamer turns as she hears the sound of running footsteps. She sees Chuck, who is hovering around the ship's locker, move out of the way.

Gvarokh pushes Chuck to the side to make sure he stays out of the corsair captain's view, as he and Vlad rush past him and onto the bridge.

Gvarokh and Vlad see that Shiraamer looks worried while the corsair captain is obviously furious with her. He has the look of a pack leader whose about to rip the throat out of an upstart attempting to sneak away with his kill.

The corsair captain sees that the two vargr crewmen have arrived on the bridge of the merchant vessel.

The Vargr Corsair quickly gives Gvarokh and Vlad the once over and then pays Vlad some more attention. He looks quite intensely into Vlad's eyes for a while before saying, "You have the blood instincctt, and I have a crew position open. Interestedd?"

Shiraamer gasps when she hears the offer to Vlad to join the Corsair. She looks at Vlad but doesn't say anything, knowing that this is a decision that he has to make himself. She's confident that he knows he's part of their family, but she still finds herself holding her breath waiting for Vlad's answer. She looks over to Gvarokh to see what his reaction is to not being asked and to the fact that Vlad was.

Surprised, Vlad attempts to look pleased by the offer. He hopes Shiraamer knows there's no way in hell he'd ever join up with pirates. "Thank you, but no. I made a commitment and I will not break it. Maybe one day when my duties here have been fulfilled...."

The Corsair looks between Vlad and Shiraamer before replying to Vlad, "Fine. Your Captain nearly got you vaporized. Make sure nothing else happens. There won't be another chancce." And he cuts the comms connection.

Gvarokh heaves out a heavy sigh and asks, "No disrespect, Captain, but what the hell happened?"

Shiraamer sighs and runs her hands through her hair. She looks up at the vargr and sighs. "Sorry about that guys. They fired a warning shot. It appears that our conversation was accidentally cut off early and he objected to it on the grounds that he 'hadn't finished giving me instructions yet.'" She rolls her eyes. "Those instructions were to have my vargr crew come to the bridge. You heard what happened after that. Oh, and Vlad? I'm glad that you stayed with me. I'm puzzled though. Don't know why they wouldn't want you Gvarokh. I know how valuable you are. That's ok though. It works in my favor." She gets up and stands close to them and speaks in what they know as her command voice. "AND, for the record, just because I'm not fighting now doesn't mean I'll always do it this way. Now you two go spread the word to crew and passengers that everything is ok and try to stay calm. I would tell the passengers via intercom though. I still want them confined to quarters and not running all around Miisha." She stops and backs off a little bit before continuing. "If you have questions, ask them now."

Gvarokh asks, "Do you think it would be a good idea for Vlad to stay on the bridge? His presence might help ease the corsair's worries by being immediately present."

Shiraamer thinks about it a bit and then nods. "As always you have great ideas. Vlad, since this... Corsair Captain... thinks highly of you," she then mutters under her breath, "the first thing we actually agree on" and then resumes talking in her normal voice, "I'd like you to stay on bridge when they arrive. He hasn't forbidden it so it shouldn't set him off again. Besides, if he starts to talk in your native language then I'll have somebody on MY side that can translate."

Vlad grunts an affirmative and remains on the bridge.

On his way out of the bridge, Gvarokh stops by Chuck and tells him that he meant no disrespect when he pushed him out of the way. Gvarokh just thought that the fewer humans the corsair saw, the better off we would be.

"None taken, Gvarokh," Chuck replies good naturedly, "I thought that I was out of sight, but you'd know better than I would if I wasn't."

As he heads down the starboard corridor, Gvarokh comms the passengers that the alarm was the result of a simple malfunction and that everything's ok. It's a one-way transmission. The passengers don't get a chance to reply.

Alarm Explained

Characters: Gvarokh, Lakir, Simrii, Vincent, Slade
Location: Miishakaal

07:11 Imperial Time, 00:11 Vilani Time

Gvarokh has just arrived at the starboard air lock to see that Lakir is almost done hiding his stuff. After Lakir nods to acknowledge his arrival, Gvarokh says over the crew comm to those who weren't on the bridge, "Ok, the alarm you heard was the result of a warning shot being fired across our bow." That's all he says about it. That should be enough.

He then dutifully reminds the crew, "The captain has been explicitly clear that we are not to resist the boarding. We are to cooperate for the best interests of our passengers, to whom we still have responsibility."

Thinking of that, he reminds himself to do a convenient terminal to do a once-over on the non-frozen passengers.

Lakir heads to the crew lounge with Gvarokh. He curses under his breath about "not bein' able ta' spade them puppies as they chew on the ship". He asks Gvarokh if tactical looks like its a ship to ship boarding, or a stand off assault, via small craft.

"I don't know," he replies, a slight growl to his voice. "The corsair captain ordered our sensors off and, except for the few minutes I was on the bridge after the alarm sounded, I haven't been there. I've been too busy hiding stuff. And then the captain sent me away to calm everyone down after the alarm sounded." He checks the chronometer on his vacc suit. "It's almost been an hourrrr since the pirates showed up." He says nothing for a quarter of a minute then adds, "I'll try to find out."

They arrive in the crew lounge. Chuck is sitting there, not sure what to do with himself.

Gvarokh notices that the iris valve to the bridge is still open. He sits down with the crew lounge terminal, gives it his ID, and then accesses the passenger manifest: a broker and his wife, a married pair of retired bauxite merchants, a retired bureaucrat and his wife, and a married pair of geologists. Nothing in their personal data strikes Gvarokh as odd. He'd need Vincent to hack Sardia's private networks to dig up anything, but that would require firing up the comm to access it and the corsair captain would growl at that.

Simrii and Slade show up in the crew lounge at this point.

Gvarokh then accesses the sensor logs and notices that passive sensors are still on. A quick look in the IR shows two objects bearing down on the Miishakaal.

He says to Lakir, "Looks like a small craft boarding with the motherrrrr ship holding out at a safe distance."

Lakir walks over to him, "Got an ETA?"

Gvarokh does a few calcs, then says, "20 minutes. Give or take 5."

At this point Vincent shows up looking a little flustered.

A Comm Call From The Starport

Characters: Shiraamer, Vlad
Location: Miishakaal bridge

07:15 Imperial Time, 00:15 Vilani Time

It's only been 8 minutes since the second comm call from the corsair captain ended. It's probably the most time that Shiraamer has spent alone with Vlad since his job interview. The awkward silence is broken by the comm.

"What does he want now?" Shiraamer mutters.

But she's stopped dead in her tracks by the source of this comm. It's the starport. A general hail is being sent out on all frequencies. While she's no comm expert, she knows from the display that the corsair is receiving the hail as well. And he'll know if she replies.

Shiraamer rolls her eyes and sits down in her chair. "Wouldn't you know it, now they want to talk. We'll see if our bossy little corsair captain will also want to ping me."

Vlad grunts.

The hail repeats itself three more times and stops.

"Ok, he answered the hail," Shiraamer says, "But he's not broadcasting his reply. I wonder what frequency he's on."

And here's what they missed.

NPC: Corsair Captain Ukighggh (played by Ewan Quibell)
Location: Enkongsuerrgvo bridge

It's been 8 minutes since you hung up on that stupid pinky, but you're still pissed. You wish that you were part of the boarding party this time. You'd snap the little hairless' neck. Or worse.

Being the disciplined leader that you are, you keep your thoughts to yourself, "Patience, patience. Only 20 more minutes until the pinnance docks with the merchant vessel."

The comm chimes.

"What?! What is she up to? I'll flay her alive...."

But it isn't from the merchant woman. It's from the starport. They're sending out a general hail on all frequencies.

"Damn it! Their sensors must've detected the warning shot."

You think that maybe you can bluff your way through this. The plan has been successful so far. While Tsekulo's ship raided that orbital city, you hid behind the moon. He lured the defending ships away leaving you to attack the next merchant vessel foolish enough to enter the system. Everything's gone according to plan until now. But all may not be lost. Scanners didn't pick up any other naval vessels in the vicinity. The naval base is 100 AU's away. It would take 14 hours for a message to get from Sardia to the naval base. Once they got that message though, they could get to Sardia in as little as 5 minutes with a mini-jump, provided that there were ships already at safe jump distance. But then they'd have to traverse the gravity well, which would take time, even for fast ships, and you'll already be at safe jump distance.

"This is Surata Down calling the Miishakaal and unidentified ship, over."

You select a frequency and answer the hail.

"Hello Surata Down. This is Captain Ukighggh. What can I do for you today?"

His tone is snooty and stuffy, like most vilani bureaucrats the captain has dealt with. However, he pronounces the captain's name surprisingly well, "Greeting Captain Ukighggh. First off, regulations require me to inform you that you're operating in vilani space with your transponder off. We would appreciate it if you turned it on. The Ziru Sirkaa frowns on such activity and imposes stiff fines on those who do not comply."

"We'llll, with the spate of corsair activity in the region latleeeyy, I took the decision to run with my transponder off so as not to advertise my presencceee. As you know there is provision in the regulations to cover thiiss, and I'm not planning to stop herrreee."

The starport bureaucrat's face is a stone as he listens to the captain's excuse. He doesn't offer a reply. Instead, he continues on with his next point.

"Secondly, we've detected a single laser shot between your ship and that of the merchant vessel, Miishakaal. The shot missed the ship. The Miishakaal has not answered our hails and it ceased acceleration long before the shot was fired. While we haven't received a distress call from them, this behavior is most unusual. Can you explain it?" While not an outright accusation, the bureaucrat does seem suspicious.

"No I can't explain their behaviour, and that's one of the reason's I'm going in to have a look. We were on our merrryy way out systeemmm minding our own when the Miishakaal told us to stand away and then cut acceleratioon. I asked if they needed any assistance and Captain Siirkasaare gave me a right mouthfulll. I was just going to ignore them when we got a garblledd comm from theirr first officer Gvarokh which brock off abruptly. I hailed them and got a really badly distorted really thretening reply from Captain Siirkasaare declaring she would enguaggee, which is when I put a warning shot across her booww. I've not been able to raise them since. I'm in two minds realllyy. One to know whats going on and the other just to leave them. I'm following the former at the momentt, but as it might be a trap I'm not taking any chanceses."

The starport bureaucrat doesn't look convinced, however, he doesn't appear willing to call the captain a liar. "You should've contacted the starport immediately. If this was a simple trade dispute, we have an arbitrator available to mediate any disagreement. If the Miishakaal was threatening you violence, as you imply, we could've called in a local patrol ship to handle the Miishakaal. It is not proper for civilians to start firing upon one another to resolve disputes."

He pauses to take a breath.

"Having said that, I would advise you, for your own safety, to break off and let us dispatch a naval vessel to deal with the Miishakaal."

The Vargr looks at the Vilani with his mouth open in a bit of astonishment. "It's not a traaade dispute I've never come across the Miishakaal beforreee. It's like they aren't from this bit of spaccce, and I took exception when they told me to staaand awayyyy." He changes back to a more normal facal expresion while continuing, "Anyway if I couldn't sort out my own problems I wouldn't have a crrrew. I'm going in to take a look and I'll let you know what I fiiind outtt."

The Vilani sighs. "Very well. But if you encounter any further hostilities from the Miishakaal, notify us immediately and break off your engagement. We'll file a report with the naval base and have them stand ready in case of emergency. Sardia Down out."

Captain Ukighggh laughs heartily as soon as the comm channel is closed. "Suckerrrrrrs!" He's well aware of the time lag. Assuming there's no further need for him to fire on the Miishakaal, he should have plenty of time to plunder the Miishakaal. Of course, the bureaucrat might've lied to him about having that naval vessel on standby instead of rushing immediately to Miishakaal's aid, but Ukighggh knows Vilani bureaucrats. They'll stick to regulations rather than trusting a hunch.

He looks at the chronometer. Time to hail the Miishakaal. The boarding party is almost there.

Next: Boarding