The week in jump was quiet. It was the first one without Shiraamer and the ship
seemed to echo with her absence. Gvarokh remained in his old quarters most of
the time. When he wasn't there, he was on the bridge. He kept busy with the
usual tasks he occupied himself with during jump. Several times he went to
report to Shiraamer on ship's status only to remember that she was gone.
Gvarokh was on the bridge by himself when the ship emerged from jumpspace. He didn't feel like having the rest of the crew awake at this hour. He knew it was the wrong decision. The crew should be at their posts in case something went wrong. But his heart wasn't in it. "Let them sleep. They'll be plenty busy when we get to Apmudurduna."
He heard her voice behind him.
"You know, the rest of the crew should be at their posts."
He whirled around to face her. She was leaning against the iris valve, her coffee mug in hand.
"I'm sorry, captain. It's just that..."
"Let me go, Gvarokh. Miisha's yours now. You're the captain."
Gvarokh eyes popped open. He was staring out at normal space.
"You ok, Gvarokh?" It was Chuck.
"Yes. Fine, Chuck."
"How long have we been out of jump?"
Gvarokh quickly scanned the console, trying to not let on that he'd been asleep. "Just three minutes."
"Shall I wake the crew?"
"Yes. Tell them we've arrived in the Apmudurduna system and that we'll be landing in two and a half hours."
"Aye, aye, captain."
Gvarokh looked over at Shiraamer's urn. "You'rrre rrrright. Next jump. I promise."
Firing attitude jets, Gvarokh orients the ship to begin deceleration.
NPC: Chuck, Simrii
Location: Miishakaal System: Apmudurduna
The ship has landed and, thanks to calling ahead, there's already a line of grav trucks waiting to unload her. Once that's squared away, Darrurz hides himself away in his stateroom to corral a buyer for the squid. Slade handles the refueling call while Gvarokh puts in an unusual request with the Repair Yard: a paint job for the ship.
Just as the last of the freight is offloaded, Darrurz emerges from his stateroom
looking quite pleased.
"Good news?" Gvarokh asks.
"I have a buyerrrr for the squid. He's coming by to sample it. If it meets his satisfaction, he'll buy the lot for 103,000 credits."
"Good!" Gvarokh barks.
"He's on his way over now."
"Is he bringing a truck."
"Because the ship's going in for a paint job as soon as the squid is out of the bay."
"When that'sss being done, I'll look for more cargo and freight." Darrurz pauses. "Which brings me to my next question. Where are we going?"
"Silverrrrrring. And after that Kaso."
Darrurz consults his handcomp.
While he does so, Gvarokh continues, "We'll pick up our new transponder at Silverrrrring. And I believe the crew will want to do some shopping while we're therrrre. Prrrrobably on Kaso too."
"Yes. Tech level 15."
"And note the law levels."
"They'rrrrrre quite loooooow. Do you think they'll be safe."
Gvarokh shrugs. "Don't know." A decidedly vargr grin emerges. "But I'm verrrrry interested in finding out."
The crew is sitting down for a second breakfast at a restaurant in the starport.
Their ship is getting a paint job. There's really nothing to do on Apmudurduna
so there's no reason to do anything except sit and wait. Gvarokh uses this
opportunity to explain how paychecks are going to work. Spec cargo sales will
yield instant paychecks while freight and odd jobs go directly into the ship's
account. Gvarokh promises to send out paychecks from the ship's account when its
balance is high enough. He emphasizes that it makes no sense to not have enough
money on hand for parts and repairs.
The buyer for the squid was pleased with their quality and paid 103,000 credits for the lot, earning a profit of 34,800 credits. Gvarokh deposits money into everyone's accounts while they eat.
"Now don't go out and spend it now."
"Why not?" Chuck asks, though by the grin on his face he clearly isn't serious.
"I think you'rrre going to want to save it for our next destinations."
"Silverring and Kaso. Both are tech level 15. Their law levels are 3 and 1, rrrrrespectively."
Jaws hit the table. Darrurz, who'd found out earlier, is unfazed.
"Oh man!" Chuck exclaims. "Any chance we can get another paycheck between now and then?"
"I'll see what I can come up with."
Darrurz pipes in, "I can't find any freight destined for either world."
"They'rrrre over the border," Gvarokh replies. "When we went from Gishinridu to Hrun, we got paid a 10% bonusss on the frrreight because no one wanted to cross the border. Maybe people here got tired of waiting and gave up on cross border trade."
"I thrrrived on crrrosssss borderrrrr trade before..." Darrurz's ears flop. He looks down at his plate. "These pinkies are missing an opportuuunity."
Gvarokh changes the subject, "Any spec cargo worth pursuing."
"No. We should have better luck at Silverrrrrring."
"Well, we need the extra rrrroom for fuel anyway. We're going to use the bladder to bypass Gikimurka." Gvarokh raps on the table with his knuckles to make sure the crew is paying attention. "And during this jump we're going back to a Vilani time schedule."
A round of groans passes through the group.
Meanwhile, Darrurz has been busy with his handcomp. "I've found some frrrreight for Gikimurka."
"We're not going to Gikimurka," Gvarokh replies patiently.
"But, why not?"
"Firrrst off, I want ourrr borrrderrr crrrossing to be as unnoticed as possible. Gikimurka's proximity and scout base would make a borrrderrr crrrossing more likely to be noticed. Gikimurka would be a waste of time for too little profit. The ship has to be on Vhodan in 6 months. I would rrrather spend the time shopping on Silverrrring and Kaso than hitting another gravity well, even one as shallow as Gikimurka's.
"I appreciate the fact that you want to contribute, but all of our trading until we deliver our message on Vhodan is just cover, and to cover expenses as much as possible. I know that won't sound right to a long-time trader such as yourself, but we need to keep our goal and timeline in mind.
"Oh, and no passengers until we get to Vhodan. I don't need any pinkies sticking theirrr noses where they don't belong. I might have to bite them off." He laughs, and even the humans in the group get the joke.
Characters: All (except Darrurz)
NPC: Chuck, Simrii
The ship has just jumped away from Apmudurduna. The paint job went over well and
only cost 1800 credits. It's a standard gunmetal gray but there's a purple
band ringing the ship around the lateral cargo locks. It's modest by vargr
standards, but Gvarokh didn't want to be over the top.
There are several hours before he has to switch to the Vilani clock and hit the sack so he makes his way to the captain's quarters to start packing Shiraamer's things.
He cleans out her drawers and closets and organizes her belongings in piles. He intends to let the crew take a memento to remember her by, but he's going first. He takes Shiraamer's Caspia necklace so that it can be adorned on her urn. A holo of the two of them, taken five years ago when the ship was paid off (it had been a small loan) will become his. There's the Rosavindu Whale tooth from Bikuushamas with the carving of a Holtian fertility goddess etched into its surface, though it looked alot like Shiraamer. It was a gift from the Holtians as a way of saying thanks for Shiraamer's help, though it was the Holtians who'd helped them the most. Then there's the bottle of Liisurkhish Nights, the perfume that Gvarokh associated with her the most. He's tempted to spray out a mist but quickly pockets it instead. Too soon.
Gvarokh decides to call it a night.
Gvarokh brings Chuck into Shiraamer's room. He's timid at first, as if entering
a sacred place but soon relaxes. Gvarokh enlists his aid in sorting out her
stuff. Once the drawers and closet are cleared out and the knick knacks brought
together on the table, Gvarokh tells Chuck to take something to remember her by.
He looks over the piles, touching an item here and there if he remembered its significance. He contemplates taking a couple of her knick knacks but puts them back. He finally spots what he wants.
"Are you sure?" Gvarokh asks, not sure what to make of Chuck's selection.
"Yes," he says with conviction. "I think that it will go nicely with my collection."
"Why don't you go put that in your quarters and then we'll get the others."
Gvarokh watches Chuck leave with Shiraamer's 30 cm titanium blade.
Gvarokh has assembled the old crew in Shiraamer's old quarters. Darrurz is not
present though Gvarokh explained to him what was going on.
"If any of you would like to go through Shiraamer's things to take a keepsake of hers to remember her by, then please do so."
Simrii declines the offer. "Memories are enough, thanks."
Vlad sniffs the air. "I'm good."
Lakir steps forward and takes the snub revolver and its accessories. "I was with her on Ashki, in Skien City, when she bought this." He smiles. "Satirine Saamlar was the shop. Sar Naggulii, it's proprietor. He was a charmer with the ladies, but he knew his merchandise, and wouldn't let a sale slip away." His smile fades.
Gvarokh looks to Slade and Vincent to see if they're going to take something. Both shake their heads negative.
"That's it then. Thanks for coming, guys."
Everyone files out of the room, except for Chuck who stays behind to help Gvarokh pack up Shiraamer's stuff.
The rest of Shiraamer's things have been boxed up. Gvarokh isn't sure what he'll do with them yet. He'll leave them in storage for now.
Gvarokh moves in to the captain's quarters. Once he's settled him, he begins to
ponder who should have his old room. It remains vacant for now.