NPC: Chuck & Simrii
Arrival at empty hex Lishun 0514. Bladder fuel used to engage jump to Silverring.
Arrival at Silverring
Miishakaal plops out of jump space above the Silverring belt. Being unfamiliar with the system, it proves safer that way. Gvarokh (and any crewman with a window seat) relies on his eyes while he waits for the sensors to come online. At this distance, it's hard to make out the phenomenon that earned this system its name. Once the sensors come online, Gvarokh is able to determine that the ship is just outside the travel lanes for Anillo de Plata, one of the major hollowed out planetoids in the Silverring belt.
Gvarokh brings the ship up to cruising speed and maneuvers into the Arrivals Corridor with the assistance of navigation beacons. As the ship passes a small asteroid, sensors flash cautionary alarms that the ship has been scanned. Before Gvarokh can get around to scanning back, the ship is hailed.
"Attention foreign vessel, this is the RZSN Silberner, maintain current course and speed and prepare to be boarded for inspection."
Gvarokh didn't believe their border crossing would go completely unnoticed. At least, slipping out of the Imperium did. "Acknowledged, Silberner. Will comply and await furrrtherrr instructions." He scans back and discovers that Silberner is a Midu Agashaam class destroyer, 15 times Miisha's size.
The inspection appears to be more of a formality. Four men come aboard dressed in combat armor, but they don't appear to be looking for a fight. The leader, Lieutenant Whitaker, is amiable as far as border patrol marines go. He isn't put off by a mixed crew or its vargr captain. The inspection is a quick walk through. Your new Imperial transponder passes muster and even the name of the ship doesn't give pause (maybe Makhidkarun hasn't sent word this far rimward). He does have a question for Gvarokh though.
"Your cargo hold is empty, you have no passengers and your ship is registered as belonging to Lucan's Imperium. So, why are you here?" His manner isn't threatening, but you can tell that he wants an answer.
With no hesitation or apparent thought, Gvarokh says, "The situation in Lucan's Imperium is deteriorating, and being a merchant was becoming very dangerous. From what we could read, it appears that the situation on the Vilani side of the border is far more stable. We thought we would try our luck over here.
"Our hold is empty because there were no opportunities for cross-border cargos. We are hoping to get better opportunities in the Ziru Sirkaa."
Lt. Whitaker nods his head, apparently satisfied. "In that case, welcome to the Ziru Sirkaa. We'll contact Anillo de Plata and let them know you're coming." He rounds up his team and departs the ship. Miishakaal continues on to Anillo de Plata without further incident.
Miishakaal has come to rest inside the massive hangar bay for Anillo
de Plata. Gvarokh has requested fuel and life support refurbishment. Darrurz
is hard at work shopping for speculative cargo and freight. While everyone
awaits, Gvarokh asks the crew if anyone is "going ashore."
Lakir speaks up, "I think I might be speakin' for the crew when I say, I'd rather wait for Kaso's lower law level. It ain't much lower, but it should be worth the wait."
Mumbles of assent follow.
"But seein' as how Silverring is the 'starship hub' of the two high tech worlds we'll visit, have you givin' any thought to makin' the mods to the ship I suggested? It also might be our last chance to lay in some quality parts before goin' into some really shitty systems for the next few months, as well as cop a few system upgrades if we can afford them. I'm thinkin' fire control, internal EM suppression systems, etc. Still not likin' get caught with our pants around our ankles during the last run in with pirate scum."
"I'm sorry, Lakir, but we can't afford to make those modifications. From what I've seen, even using salvaged parts would cost more than we've got. And that's assuming we could even find them. With the war going on, even salvage is being redeployed. I think that the only salvage that we're going to be able to afford is what we can scrrrrrounge up on our own." Gvarokh takes a breath to let that sink in. "We might be able to afford beefing up the air raft. Spec out your mods with the costs and get them to me. But keep in mind that the air raft still needs to look 'civvie'. I don't want to scare local cops into thinking we're a bunch of mercenaries looking for a 'party'."
"Tell ya what Capn', why don't you gimme a budget, and I'll see what I can turn out for mods and upgrades."
"Fairrrrr enough. See if you can squeeze it in under fifty thousand credits."
"You got it." Lakir gets up to leave but Gvarokh stops him.
"Don't leave just yet. I'm not finished. I want to cut you guys a check so you have some spending money for here or Kaso." The crew is pleased to see their bank accounts improve by 6,000 credits.
There's a round of "thank you's" from the crew.
NPC: Chuck & Simrii
Darrurz is disappointed that he wasn't able to find any speculative cargo that
he could sell on Kaso. It seems that long term contracts between Silverring
suppliers and Kaso buyers has locked up the materials that would be easy sales.
The pittance leftover is too risky; the profit potential too low. "What happened
to free marrrkkkets?" he growls as he sullenly signs the ship up to haul
freight (processed ores).
While this is going on, Lakir is fiddling with air raft upgrade specifications. He gets a pass (this time) from loading the cargo hold.
Gvarokh has contacted the Starport Authority to begin the ship registration process. He provides them with a story similar to Lt. Whitaker of the ZSS Silberner: deteriorating situation in Lucan's Imperium. This satisfies the Registration Officer who files Gvarokh's application and informs him that the review should be completed by the next day.
Gvarokh and Lakir then contact a vehicular contractor to discuss Lakir's modifications to the air raft and the ship's internal defenses.
After this meeting, and once the crew has finished loading cargo, Gvarokh calls a meeting of the ship's crew.
Gvarokh gets right to it. "First off, the air raft is getting worked on. We're having it set up so that we can mount a VRF gauss gun on it. There will also be a countermeasures launcher attached to it."
Nods of approval from the crew.
"There will be some work done to the ship as well. We're having a dozen mounts set up so that we can utilize those VRF gauss guns internally to defend ourselves against boarders. I'm sure that I don't need to make a case for that after our last run in with pirates."
More nods of approval from the crew.
"There's a catch. This sort of gear isn't quite approved for civilians. However, for mercenaries, it's ok."
"The contractorrrr is cutting us a break. He gave us a mercenary license application to fill out. For his paperwork, he's putting down 'license pending.' It covers his tail should we fail to get licensed.
"Getting a mercenary license has its advantages." He looks over at Simrii who nods. "It grants us certain freedoms, especially when it comes to weapon ownership. Being licensed with a good bond rating would actually add a sense of legitimacy to any 'special jobs' we might undertake.
"But there's a negative too. A background check is performed on the applicants and the ship. Now, it's possible that they won't trace us back to the prison break on Theton. We have a new transponder ID and even the one we just swapped out should provide enough of a false trail that won't be traceable back to the Theton job." He bites his lip. "It actually might be fortunate that the captain isn't with us. Unless I'm mistaken, her name was the only one given at the prison. Simrii, Lakir, and Vlad might appear on any securrrity camerrrrrras that were running...."
Simrii interrupts, "We had our helmets on the whole time. I think it'll be tough for them to have gotten a good look at our faces."
"Ok. That's good." He pauses. "I believe that it's a chance worrrrth taking. If any of you can offer a good reason why we shouldn't fill out the mercenary license application, speak up now."
Lakir is the first to speak up. "I say we do it. Vincent may want to comment on our exposure to a background check though. If he's confident we're clear, then I'm good to go.
"If we opt for this, Capn', we may want to spring for a bigger virtual holo rig, get some group training in, durin' that jump space transit."
Vincent replies, "We should be ok. If they use the transponder we're swapping out to trace us, it should provide enough misdirection that they won't be able to connect us with the Theton job. I don't know much about spies, but I'd imagine that Mersshon does. If we get caught, his message doesn't get through and he's got one less courier to work with. With the way the war is going, I don't know how likely he is to find another recruit.
"But like Gvarokh said, Shiraamer was the only name they'd have to go on. Since she's not with us anymore... well, you get the idea. I think we're safe.
"As far as hacking goes, I'd rather not do it here. I'd be going up against a tech level 15 defensive system. While I think I could do it, it'd be tough, and I could get caught. Since this isn't a life or death situation, I don't think the risk is worth finding out for sure. A lower tech level world, sure. I should be able to do it no problem."
"Ok, then. I'll fill out the application," Gvarokh says, concluding the meeting.
Characters: Gvarokh and Lakir
NPC: Joe Barton, Contractor
This is the conversation that went on between Gvarokh, Lakir and the
Gvarokh has just finished his conversation with the Starport Authority. The new transponder requisition application process seems to be off to a good start.
He notes Lakir's arrival on the bridge. "What have you got forrrr me, Lakirrr?"
Lakir plugs his SuperPDA into the main viewer and shows all of his recommendations for the air raft. He follows it up with schematics of the ship with a network of VRF gauss gun connector ports located throughout the ship.
Gvarokh loves the anti-boarding VRF mounts and tells Lakir so.
Once they're finished, they contact the Naval Architect's Office. Their call is transferred on down through the lines to a contractor named Joe Barton.
After pleasantries are exchanged, Lakir explains what he wants done to the air raft and the interior of the ship. Gvarokh elaborates on the why, telling Barton about what went down when the ship was boarded by pirates.
Barton asks for a Mercenary License Number. Gvarokh explains that they don't have one.
"You see," Barton explains, "this sort of equipment is quite military in nature. Civilians aren't supposed to be able to carry around this sort of firepower."
Lakir frowns. His hopes to get this work done are about to be dashed. "C'mon man! You know what it's like out there. Everything's falling apart! You can't count on the government, any of them, to protect you. Isn't that why Kaso and Silverring seceded from the Imperium? If we don't have the means to protect ourselves, we're as good as dead out there. You know that."
Barton is silent. Lakir's words hit close to home. "Ok. I'm sending you a Mercenary's License application. I'm going to put down license pending on the work order form. That should keep the pencil pushers off my back for a while."
Gvarokh replies with relief, "Thank you."
Barton continues, "I can get the guns for you, and a pre-loaded CM launcher, but you'll have to pick up the ammo on your own."
"Kaso?" Lakir asks.
"Yeah, you shouldn't have any problem getting the ammo there."
"How much for all this?" Gvarokh asks.
The price Barton comes back with covers 12 VRF flexible arm mounts, with transparent shields, for the ship, 14 armor blankets for the air raft, 2 VRF gauss guns, IVIS (controller) for the air raft, the countermeasures launcher plus interface, and 1 pedestal mount in the air raft for a single VRF gg. The CM unit comes with a "recon" ordnance load.
"Ok then," Gvarokh replies. "Let's do it."
"We'll have someone swing by to pick up the air raft in a couple hours."
"We're getting a new transponder installed, is that going to pose a problem for the in-ship work?"
"Not at all. We'll call you before we pick up the air raft and we need to drop it off. And we'll call to find out where your having the transponder work done and do it there."
NPC: Chuck & Simrii
Gvarokh fills out the mercenary license application and submits it.
Work begins on the air raft.
The Starport Authority has approved Miishakaal's registration application and has scheduled a transponder replacement for 17:00. Cost: 7,000 credits.
Air raft modifications are done. Lakir points out the pedestal mount for a
VRF gauss gun and the attachment site for a countermeasures launcher array.
Work begins on the interior of the ship. Attachment points are installed for hooking up a VRF gauss gun as a point defense weapon. Lakir proudly demonstrates to the crew how the arrangement will work and become an effective deterrent at repelling boarders.
Transponder swap begins.
Gvarokh receives word that the group's Mercenary License application has
been provisionally accepted. Gvarokh inquires as to what this means. The clerk
explains that Gvarokh, his crew, and his ship have checked out fine by
Silverring's records. However, they're required to check in with other major
data hubs on the background check. The clerk shrugs it off as a formality. The
provisional license conforms to the standard license, though some municipalities
might use it as an excuse to scrutinize everything you do. Once this final
check is completed, the full-fledged license will be mailed to you.
"Do you know where you'll be over the next 5 kidash (Vilani months)?"
"Uhhh, no. We go wherever business takes us."
"That's ok. We'll use a mailbot to track you down. Can you give me any idea where to start though?"
"Well, we're headed to Kaso next."
"Good enough. Thanks!"
With all the work completed, Miishakaal departs from Silverring.