Comm Call From Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha

Characters: Shiraamer and Gvarokh
Location: Miishakaal bridge
System: Sardia

1125.11.7 - 15:00 Imperial Time, 08:00 Vilani Time

Gvarokh has just completed the deceleration maneuver and begun the 1/2 G crawl back in when the comm signal is heard. He sees that it's coming from the starport and answers it.

"Miishakaal here."

"Good Dran to you. This is Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha calling. May I speak to Captain Shiraamer Siirkasaare, please?"

Gvarokh is a bit surprised by the gentleman's politeness, especially after the cold reception from the starport bureaucrat. He decides to respond in kind, "Please wait a moment while I summon her to the bridge."

* * *

Shiraamer discovers that her room has been turned upside down, except for the nice neat pile of her valuables lying on her bed that Vincent had so carefully hidden for her. She's in the middle of putting her room back in order when her comm chimes.

"Captain to the bridge please."

"On my way," she replies to Gvarokh.

Arriving at the bridge, Shiraamer finds a middle aged Vilani man (mid-50's Terran appearance), of average build with black hair and gold eyes, wearing a starport security uniform on the main viewer.

"I'm Captain Shiraamer Siirkasaare, what can I do for you?"

"Pleased to meet you captain, though I wish it were under better circumstances." Shiraamer gets the impression that he actually means it. "I'm Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha. I understand that you're filing a claim of piracy against Captain Ukighggh of the Enkongsuerrgvo class packet that was seen docking with your ship."

"That is correct."

"I see that you've already downloaded the claims forms. Good. How soon before you arrive back at the starport?"

A puzzled look appears on Shiraamer's face. "Return to the starport? Is that necessary? Since we're now passed the jump point, I was hoping that this could be taken care of without having to return. I'm sure you can understand that after this whole ordeal I just want to get going and deliver what's left of my cargo while I can."

A raised eyebrow betrays the Chief Inspector's surprise. "I'm not sure that it's necessary but it would be highly unusual for you not to return." He rubs his chin while he mulls the idea over. "I suppose I could fly out there to conduct my investigation, provided that you don't object of course."

Shiraamer smiles beautifully back at him. "Chief Inspector, how could we object to you coming out here? I mean you don't intend to rob us also do you?" Shiraamer chuckles to show that she doesn't really believe he would do that. "You'd be helping us out tremendously by coming out here. If you tell me what else you'll need when you get here I will try to have it ready for you."

Picking up on Shiraamer's jest, he smiles back. "I just need everyone to tell me clearly what happened and report what was taken. I should be out there in an hour and a half to two hours. Khiikurshasekha out."

Gvarokh says, "I hope that the inspector comes out in a boat big enough to hold all of the damn passengers."

Shiraamer agrees.

He continues, "You might want to personally go and let the passengers know what's going on so that they can be prepared to give their stories to the inspector. We also need to make sure we have all passenger refunds ready to go so that any passenger that wants to return with the inspector can do so with their money in hand, so to speak."

Shiraamer grabs the ship's bank card and reader and prepares to go see the passengers, but decides to take one of the guys with her as security. Before she leaves Gvarokh to the bridge, she informs the crew that the Inspector General is coming out, instead of them having to go back to the planet.

The captain makes an announcement over the crew comm. "Just wanted to give you guys an update. I've been on the comm with Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha from Starport Security. I managed to convince him to conduct his investigation out here rather than back at the starport. He'll be rendezvousing with us in an hour and a half to two hours to take everyone's statements for his report.

"Also, I'll be headed up to the passenger lounge to give refunds to any of the passengers that have decided to head back to Sardia instead of going on with us to Theton. I'm hoping that they'll all take me up on the offer.

"Any questions?"

There are none.

Refund

Characters: Shiraamer & Vincent
NPC: Chuck & passengers
Location: Miishakaal passenger lounge

15:30 Imperial Time, 08:30 Vilani Time

With no questions from the crew to answer, Shiraamer heads towards the lift to the upper deck. She asks Vincent to meet her there.

She explains, "I'm going to offer refunds to those passengers who want to return to Sardia. I'm hoping that they'll all take me up on it. I'd like an escort in case there's any further ugliness like what we had earlier."

He replies, "Sure."

"But you're not to threaten or intimidate them in any way."

"Ok."

They arrive in the passenger lounge to find Chuck supervising the passengers as they fill out claims forms.

"Hello," she says to get their attention.

Everyone looks up to see what she has to say.

"Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha from Starport Security will be arriving here in an hour and a half to two hours to conduct his investigation into the pirate attack. He'll be taking statements from everyone."

This appears to please the passengers.

"Any of you who would rather return to Sardia than to go on to Theton may have your tickets refunded."

"Thank you," one of the passengers says.

They all line up for their refunds.

The Chief Inspector Arrives

Characters: All
NPC: Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha, & two guards
Location: Miishakaal crew lounge
System: Sardia (well past safe jump distance)

1125.11.7 - 16:50 Imperial Time, 09:50 Vilani Time

As per his word, Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha arrives within the time frame specified. His ship is a ship's boat and it is accompanied by two Hornet class fighters. His ship docks while the fighters maintain a discrete distance.

The crew have been roused from their naps and all are present in the crew lounge, except for Chuck who is with the passengers.

After the air lock cycles, three men in combat armor emerge from the air lock. Two of them are brandishing auto-shotguns while the third has a holstered laser pistol. After a moment, the third removes his helmet. It's the Chief Inspector.

He extends his hand for a handshake to Shiraamer, "Permission to come aboard, Captain."

"Permission granted." She shakes his hand.

"These two formidable looking gentlemen are my escorts. Please don't be alarmed. It's required by regulations."

"Of course."

"I'd like to start off by collecting a copy of your sensor logs, any comm transmissions you may have made with the offending party, and a list of what was stolen. Afterwards, I'd like to interview everyone on board."

Shiraamer frowns. "I'm sorry but the corsair captain ordered me to erase my sensor logs back to the moment of liftoff and no comm transmission recordings were made. I can provide you with a list of what was stolen, though."

"I'll need to see that blank spot in your sensor logs, if you don't mind."

"I don't mind."

Shiraamer leads the Chief Inspector to the bridge so that he can examine the hole in the sensor log.

"Most unfortunate," he says.

She then hands over a list of what was stolen from the cargo hold, the crew, the equipment locker, and the passengers. They then return to the crew lounge.

He asks, "Is there a room where I can conduct my interviews in private?"

Gvarokh offers his room for the interviews due to its proximity.

Shiraamer thanks Gvarokh for offering his quarters and takes him up on the offer. She points its location out to the Chief Inspector.

"Very good. Please summon the passengers then. I'll interview them first and then the crew."

Gvarokh lets the Chief Inspector into his room while the guards stand outside of it. The captain contacts Chuck and instructs him to bring the passengers down for questioning.

From here, individual characters had one-on-one meetings with Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha. Since these are private, and no one has said to make their testimonies public, the individual sessions are for their eyes only. Simrii, Lakir, Vlad, Vincent, Slade, Gvarokh and Shiraamer.

The Chief Inspector Departs

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck, 6 passengers, Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha and his guards
Location: Miishakaal
System: Sardia (well past safe jump distance)

1125.11.7 - 21:40 Imperial Time, 14:40 Vilani Time

Several minutes after Shiraamer leaves Gvarokh's room, Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha does as well.

He says, "I'll be in your cargo hold. I'd like to look around for evidence."

Shiraamer says, "I'll accompany you, just in case you have questions."

"That will not be necessary," he says.

"Oh, but I insist."

He sighs and his cordial smile vanishes. "Captain Siirkasaare, you and your crew have been most helpful in my investigation so far. I would hate for that perception to change."

Shiraamer looks from him to his guards. She can't see through their visors but she's certain that they're watching her carefully. She smiles to make it seem that nothing's wrong. Her voice is light in reply, "Very well. If you need me for anything, don't hesitate to call."

The Inspector's smile returns, "Not for a second." He heads into the cargo hold. His guards linger momentarily, then follow.

No one does or says much while everyone waits for the rescue ship to arrive. Most of the crew takes a nap, though those who weren't on Vilani time, or are vargr, are unable to do so.

And then the rescue ship arrives. It's a Fer-de-lance class destroyer escort. It doesn't hail the Miishakaal, but rather the Chief Inspector.

Gvarokh is awakened by the squawking of the passive sensors. He, in turn, notifies the captain and the crew.

The crew assemble in the crew lounge and manage to catch the tail end of his communication as the Chief Inspector enters the room.

"Yes, that's correct. I just need a chaperone. No sense forcing you to handle this." A pause. "We'll be leaving in about five minutes." Another pause." Yes, I'll leave the channel open. Khiikurshasekha out."

He turns to the captain and smiles, "I'll be taking those passengers off your hands."

Shiraamer smiles, her relief evident. "Thank you." Over her comm she says, "Chuck, bring down the passengers. The Chief Inspector is giving them a ride dirtside."

"Roger that, Cap'n."

Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha then says, "I spoke with the parties that you were hauling freight for. The ones whose property was stolen have released you from any further inquiries in the matter. Your statement to me was sufficient. If they change their mind, they'll have to subpoena you. The parties whose property wasn't stolen have given you permission to continue on to Theton. It helps that one of those parties was a government agency that insisted their data crystals go to Theton."

The passengers descend the lift into the crew lounge. The Chief Inspector addresses them, "As per your wishes, I will be transporting you back to the surface. Please follow the guards back to our ship." He then gives the guards a curt nod and they disappear through the air lock.

Facing the captain, Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha says, "Thank you Captain, and your crew as well, for cooperating with us in this matter. If we have any further need of you we'll send someone to Theton. If you're not planning on staying there long, please leave a forwarding destination with Starport Security so that we may contact you."

"Thank you Inspector for all your help in this matter."

He nods with a smile, "Best of luck to you with the rest of your journey." And with that he departs.

Once the air lock closes, Vlad grunts, "That could have been a lot worse than it was."

Chuck is perplexed, "Why? It's not like we did anything wrong."

The Chief Inspector's ship's boat has detached itself from Miishakaal and the destroyer escort has moved off to a safe distance. Relieved that the ordeal is over, Shiraamer gives the order to jump. She then proceeds to her quarters to sleep.

The Weekly Poker Game

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck
Location: Miishakaal crew lounge
System: Jumpspace - Sardia to Theton

1125.12.6 - 0:00 Imperial Time, 09:00 Vilani Time

The time spent in jump has been good for the crew. With the immediate threat of the pirates and the paranoia induced anxiety over unruly passengers and police investigations behind them, everyone has had a chance to hit the proverbial reset button.

The crew has adjusted to Vilani time, so the thought of starting a poker game at midnight on the Imperial clock doesn't raise an eyebrow.

After Shiraamer's work shift ended, not that there's much work to be done, she went to her room to change. Her style of dress is a little more conservative this time. She wears 3 inch black heels, black leggings (stretch pants), and a red lace camisole top. She has her hair brushed back with a red bow, revealing more of her face than she normally does.

She also deliberately told the crew to meet an hour into the rest period so that she could to the crew lounge before them. She felt that it was her turn to get the beer and snacks ready for the guys. It was also intended as a thank you for hanging in there with her.

Chuck is the first to arrive and is surprised that he's been relieved of galley duties for this occasion.

Gvarokh shows up next. Although it's his work shift, there's really nothing for him to do except his personal studies, which can be done at anytime.

Vincent and Simrii arrive just as Vlad and Lakir are descending the lift. Simrii seems his typical laid back self while Vincent wraps up talking to him about something. His thoughts immediately turn to poker. Lakir appears to be in a sour mood over something, but Vlad slaps him on the back while laughing. "Then I could've killed the pirate captain and whipped his crew into shape in a week."

Slade is the only one missing.

Everyone sits down, grabs a beer, and a fistful of snacks, while Chuck starts dealing the first hand.

It's at this point that Slade comes running into the room. "Sorry I'm late," he says as he takes a seat and a beer.

Shiraamer looks around the table at her crew, "It appears, we need to upgrade Miisha. Our recent experience has taught me that anyway. I know it wasn't easy and thanks for being there with me. Speaking of upgrading Miisha and replacing things, I need creds to do that with so let's get this poker game started."

Chuck laughs, "Yeah, like we've got any money. Besides, I've got to replace the shotgun I lost to those bastards."

Simrii offers, "I'd give you one of mine, but they took them as well."

During the second hand Slade says, "I owe you an apology, Captain. You made the right call when you said we shouldn't fight. I'm sure I'd be dead right now. Thanks."

"Apology accepted Slade. I do admit that it felt very good to be right on this call but it did show that we need to get stuff for Miisha. By the way, the inspector and his two 'escorts' wouldn't let me go through our cargo when they wanted to inspect it. They actually took umbrage. I didn't push it but it wouldn't hurt to have it gone through. I'd hate to find out that as soon as we come out of jump we are sending out a beacon or something. Hmm. That makes me sound a bit paranoid, doesn't it?"

"Yes it does," Chuck replies.

Vlad asks, "Has anyone, meaning one of us, searched our cargo hold? Just to be safe? You Pinkies smell bad when you die." He has a big grin on his face.

Vincent offers, "Well, Lakir and I searched the hold after the pirates left. We didn't find anything other than the cargo the pirates didn't want."

Vlad adds, "Call it paranoia, but I think it should get a thorough going-over now that all non-crew and non-popsicles are off the ship."

Chuck calls it, "Ok. You're paranoid."

Gvarokh agrees that it is probably a good idea. "No big hurry though. Since we play the game rather late, we can go take a look in the 'morning.'"

Shiraamer agrees that it would be a good idea and leaves it up to them.

Chuck whistles, "If I still had a medkit, I'd scan all of you for Jump Space Psychosis."

About midway through the game Slade asks, "I still have a question though, not that I'm complaining: why didn't they take the ship? They took all the crap cargo and left the most valuable thing here, besides our lives. Is it because if they take all the ships the trade will shut down, and then they get nothing, like a parasite that kills its host? That's the only explanation I can come up with. But it doesn't seem to fit with the attack on the starport back there."

Chuck offers, "That could be. But maybe they didn't have enough crew to fly two ships. We saw, what, 5 guys? I like your explanation better than mine though."

The game itself proceeds well enough for some, not so well for others. Simrii burns through his allotted poker money ($20) early. He decides to sit and watch the others though and drink some beer.

Lakir's poker performance isn't much better. It winds up keeping his mood sour. A couple rounds after Simrii bails, Lakir finds himself out $30.

Vincent probably wishes that he'd bailed when Lakir and Simrii went, but he decides to stick through the night and recoup his losses. He winds up out $100.

Chuck is a bit better at recovering his losses and thus winds up out only $30.

On the winning side, no one clearly dominated. The lead shifted around throughout the night, but once again, that crafty vargr 1st Officer was top dog. He pulled in $60. The tardy engineer, a rare sight at the poker games, wound up second with $50. Vlad and the captain managed to pull in enough cash to end the night on a positive note.

FINAL Winnings/Losses:
Gvarokh won $60
Slade won $50
Vlad won $40
Shiraamer won $30
Simrii lost $20
Lakir lost $30
Chuck lost $30
Vincent lost $100

The group calls it a night and disperses.

Last Briefing Before Theton

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck
Location: Miishakaal crew lounge
System: Jumpspace - Sardia to Theton

1125.12.7 - 08:00 Imperial Time, 09:00 Vilani Time

Everyone has assembled in the crew lounge for the final briefing before Theton, the final stop on Mersshon's errand.

Shiraamer starts the meeting. "First order of business," she looks at Gvarokh and Vlad, "did you guys find anything in the cargo hold?"

"Nothing," Gvarokh says. "All we've got is the leftover cargo and all those crates are sealed, just as we received them. No sign of any tampering."

"Ok, good. Now onto Theton. We're supposed to meet Mersshon's agent, Oda Linnachre, at a bar called Igakhum's in Limii Orbital City. The starport is located there too so that'll make things easier.

"There are no gas giants in the system and Theton itself has a corrosive atmosphere and oceans. In fact, it's all ocean except for several island chains. Anyway, the library program says to expect higher prices for things, especially fuel. The only reason why this place is open is its mineralogical value. Apparently, there are lanthanum deposits."

Shiraamer consults a datapad with the rest of the highlights, "Law level 3. That's good. Tech level 11. Not bad. There's a naval base. That could make things rough if we need to get away fast."

Simrii looks up from the book that he's been engrossed in for the past few days. "I assume we've done an inventory and have an idea of what needs to be replaced and what would be nice to replace after our encounter with the pirates?"

"I'm pretty sure that we can just go off the list that the captain submitted for the police report," Chuck answers.

The captain nods.

Chuck continues, "I know that the medkit is gone. All we've got left are some first aid kits, but those aren't very useful. And I know that all of our tool boxes are gone."

"Not the engineering tool kit," Slade interrupts. "I normally keep that in Engineering and I hid it along with my weapons."

"That's good," Chuck says. "I know that my shotgun's gone. I shouldn't have any problems picking one up on Theton."

Simrii does a quick mental inventory of personal belongings that went missing. Basically, he just lost the shotguns which were in the ship's locker. All of his main weapons were well hidden. He then says, "Once we get there, we should start putting out feelers to see what we can get on the cheap and what we can put off getting till we get somewhere with a higher tech level."

After making her own personal mental checklist, Shiraamer says, "Besides looking for replacements for the gear we lost, I'll also take suggestions from you guys on anything else you think we should have for the ship. I don't know if we'll be able to get it but we can at least start. I checked the ship's bank card during my last shift. We've made enough money from hauling cargo and passengers that we should be able to pay for it all."

She looks at the clock on the wall. "We should be exiting jumpspace in 14 hours or so. Let's be ready."

Next: Arrival In The Theton System