NPC: Chuck & Simrii
Arrival in Zaan system.
Land at downport. Freight unloaded. Refueling and life support refurbishment.
Darrurz is disappointed to see that there is only one lot of freight destined for Mimere. As it is 30 tons, and the shipper won't break up the lot, Miishakaal is unable to take it.
However, there are 4 scouts looking for low passage to Mimere. Darrurz signs them up to help defray fuel costs.
A disheartening piece of news runs catches the crew's eyes:
Ships may remain in port no more than 24 hours. No berthing or facilities provided.
|Downport Landing and Berthing:||500||250||100||50|
|Orbital Starport Berthing*:||1000||750||600||550|
|Extended Stay (per day after 6):||500||250||100||50|
* where applicable
Ships may remain in port for 6 days and receive berthing services, which include: external power, life support, InfoNet access, and access to maintenance facilities.
The report goes on to list charges for cargo handling, warehousing, and
shuttle service. There's even a charge to remain parked in orbit. There's even a
mention that other polities that make up the Shattered Imperium are also
considering similar rate hikes.
"This is ooouuutrrrageous!" Darrurz howls in disgust. "The Burrreauuu are ccclearly out to destroy free traderrrs and monopolize all commercial activity. Hairless Bastards!"
Freight unloaded. Ship refueled. Life Support refurbished. Rather than stick around, low berth passengers come aboard and the ship moves on to its next destination: Mimere.
NPC: Chuck & Simrii
The ship exits jumpspace and begins to decelerate. As it does so, the ship
is scanned. A return passive scan determines that a Type T patrol cruiser some
125,000 km (~75,000 miles) away is tracking you. They hail you, instructing you
to get in line for customs inspection once deceleration is complete.
Gvarokh acknowledges the hail and assures the captain of the patrol cruiser that they'll comply with his orders.
Deceleration complete, Gvarokh maneuvers the ship into the inspection queue,
a line of ships flanked by several destroyers and even more small craft. While
waiting, Gvarokh turns on the local news broadcast and pipes it over the comm.
"The culture wars appear to have finally begun. The first salvo was fired today by the orbital city of Perpignan. It has declared French to be its official language. All government business, as well as signage, will be conducted in French. While it will not be forbidden for anyone to speak or conduct their business in a language other than French, city hall has decided that it will no longer tolerate the attempt by the Igsiirdi to 'pave over their culture.'
The mayor went on to say that Vilani and various Solomani cultures, not just the French, have peacefully coexisted for centuries and that there is no need for that to change now. Despite this move, Perpignan maintains that it is loyal to the world government and the Ziru Sirkaa.
While there has been no official move on part of the world government, other cities on Mimere will be watching to see how this all plays out. When asked to reply to Perpignan's actions, Makhidkarun's PR man had no comment."
"That doesn't sound too good," Chuck offers.
Gvarokh comments, "If someone is going to volunteer to be the sacrificial lamb, an orbital city would not seem to be the wisest choice. Hopefully the Vilani will take their time before shooting it down so we can be gone before then."
Chuck looks horrified, "You don't think that the Vilani would really shoot down a whole city in cold blood do you? Imposing martial law is one thing, but shooting down a city would be... genocide!"
It's finally Miishakaal's turn for its customs inspection. With
everyone's weapons safely stowed, including the internal defensive system,
Gvarokh urges the crew to remain calm. "We have nothing to hide."
Eight armed men in combat armor board the ship. They all bear the insignia of Vilani Marines. The leader identifies himself as a Lieutenant Gugiingilurnanar and immediately demands to see your cargo and passenger manifests and navigation log without so much as a good dir. Maybe he's cranky for having to work the "night shift." When he sees that you were at Ami, he frowns and says, "Hippies" and "organic oils?" with disgust.
From here he proceeds to have three men inspect each and every single container and crate for veracity. He even goes so far as to sample each container with a portable mass spectrometer.
Not content to merely purview your hold, he takes two men and Gvarokh with him as he verifies the identity of each of the corpsicles, casually inspects engineering, and peeks inside staterooms.
Gvarokh's patience wears a bit thin. In his most polite voice, he asks, "May I ask what you're looking for?"
"No you may not," is his rude reply.
Gvarokh suppresses an innate urge to growl.
"What's this?" the lieutenant asks, referring to the two VRF gauss guns in the ship's locker. "Not exactly standard defensive weaponry for civilian vessels. I'll have to confiscate these."
"I've got a license for those," Gvarokh says calmly.
"Not likely. You might think that it's well and good to run around Kaso waving a local permit, but you'll find that the Ziru Sirkaa does not..."
Gvarokh hands him the ship's mercenary license.
Lt. Gugiingilurnanar frowns. "I'm going to have to verify this."
"By all means," Gvarokh replies with a polite smile.
Gvarokh rejoins the crew while Lt. Gugiingilurnanar returns to his pinnance.
Lt. Gugiingilurnanar returns to your ship. He's still frowning but the fire in his belly has been doused. "Your license checks out," he says sullenly. He spends the rest of his time monitoring the cargo samplers.
The sampling is only 3/4 of the way done when Lt. Gugiingilurnanar halts the
inspection. Having found nothing illicit he withdraws his team back to the
pinnance. "You're free to go. Please proceed directly to the starport," he says,
then turns his back on Gvarokh and the crew.
"Good drandir," Gvarokh says to his back.
Lt. Gugiingilurnanar pauses a moment, apparently stung by polite salutation, and then resumes his retreat to the pinnance.
Location: Miishakaal, parked at the starport
Darrurz is successful in finding a buyer. The whole lot is sold for 120,000 credits, resulting in a profit of 29,000 credits (~32%). He gets to work finding a new cargo for Aanshi, your next destination, after forwarding the buyer's trucking company info to Lakir for the organic oils.
The crew is busy with getting the ship turned around to head back out. Slade
and Vincent are busy in Engineering. Lakir and the rest of the cargo handlers
are waiting for the buyer of the 50 tons of organic oils in the hold. Gvarokh
oversees it all. A well trained crew needs no interference.
Chuck's voice comes over the comm, "Captain, we've got a visitor. A Mr. Ishdad Mamingigur from Makhidkarun Public Relations is here. Alone. He's carrying a small gift wrapped box. Shall I let him in?"
"Yes," Gvarokh replies, "But send him to my old quarters."
A minute later Chuck escorts Mr. Mamingigur to the Gvarokh's old quarters, where the vargr is waiting. He introduces Gvarokh to Mr. Mamingigur. Unlike most Vilani, he's dressed all in black with a tunic over simple shirt and pants. The company logo is adorned to the upper left corner of his tunic. He shifts the gift, a silver and red paper covered box, into one hand so that the two of you can shake hands. Chuck makes to leave. Without the visitor seeing, he gestures a question asking if you want him to wait outside, just in case.
Gvarokh makes a fist. A sign for "yes."
"I'll leave you gentleman be."
"Thank you, Mr. Strider," Gvarokh says formally.
Chuck leaves and closes the door for privacy. He then alerts the crew that the captain has a visitor from Makhidkarun. As this is the megacorp that they pissed off on Theton, the crew is understandably concerned. There's a temptation to panic on the part of some but Simrii points out that if Makhidkarun thought that this ship was the same one that raided the prison on Theton, they'd already be incarcerated.
Those with something to do (Darrurz & Slade) go about their jobs while everyone else waits in the crew lounge for either Gvarokh's meeting to conclude or Darrurz's spec cargo buyer to show up for his merchandise, whichever comes first. They try to look busy cleaning, reading, pretending to take inventory, etc.
Meanwhile, in Gvarokh's old quarters...
"Captain Gvarokh," Mamingigur starts, "On behalf of Makhidkarun, I'd like to apologize for the unnecessarily rude treatment you received earlier upon your arrival. Lieutenant Gugiingilurnanar was a bit zealous in his predilection of duty. We at Makhidkarun felt that an apology was in order. And to further salve any wounded relations, we offer this." He hands the box to Gvarokh with a smile.
Gvarokh graciously accepts the present but protests slightly, saying, "This really isn't necessary. While rude, the Lieutenant didn't really step out of bounds. But thank you. The gesture is quite appreciated."
After a pause, Gvarokh asks, "If I may be so bold, I am still curious, though. What was he looking for?"
"Weapons, explosives, armor. Anything that might be a sign that our French brothers are looking to arm themselves and engage in secession or rebellion."
Gvarokh nods his head slightly and says, "That certainly makes sense."
"I'm glad you agree. It's important to us that people understand that these inspections aren't without purpose. As I said, Lieutenant Gugiingilurnanar went a bit too far is his inspection. The only courteous thing to do after that was apologize."
Gvarokh nods and says. "Appreciated and accepted." Switching gears, he asks, "Do you mind if I open the gift now?"
"Not at all. Go right ahead."
Gvarokh opens the gift wrapped box to reveal two bottles and two tall glasses. Both bottles are from the Aanshi Corporation, a distiller on Aanshi. One is a bottle of Shukuush, a Vilani liqueur reminiscent of Amaretto crossed with Drambuie. The other is a bottle of Uekhfarsal, a Vargr concoction that has often been compared to the Solomani liqueur, Absinthe. The Aanshi brand is considered top shelf.
Gvarokh says, with genuine appreciation, "Very nice! The crew and I will very much enjoy these! Thank you very much."
Mamingigur bows slightly, "You're quite welcome." After a brief pause, he changes the subject, "I understand from the report that you're new to the Ziru Sirkaa. And not only are you traders but you're mercenaries as well. What brings you to our domain? Are you in need of work? Makhidkarun could always utilize the talents of an outfit such as yourselves."
Gvarokh replies, "We are traders, not mercenaries. However, we had an unfortunate run in with pirates that we were, quite frankly, lucky to survive. We want to make sure we are prepared if there is a next time. In order to make sure the modifications are legal, we had to obtain a mercenary license."
"I don't think we are ready for jobs like that. Right now, the crew and I just want to continue to ply the trade lanes."
Mamingigur nods his head. "I understand."
"As to why we are here, I will admit that we originally operated in Lucan's Imperium. The situation started to turn very bad, and since the authorities were not interested in improving the situation, we felt we should try another venue. The Ziru Sirkaa appeared to have a more stable environment, so we thought we would try our luck here."
"Well, I hope we don't disappoint you." Mamingigur shows signs that he's ready to go so Gvarokh shows him the way out.
As the door opens, Mamingigur hands Gvarokh his card. "If you have any questions, or change your mind, feel free to contact me." He smiles good naturedly. "Good drandir, Captain."
Gvarokh notes that several crew members are present in the crew lounge, pretending to be busy, as he shows Mamingigur to the air lock.
"So how did it go, Captain?" Chuck asks.
Gvarokh lets go a huge breath of relief. Looking at the crew, he says, "Amazingly well!
"He really was here just to apologize for the overzealous actions of the patrol inspection. He even provided us with a gift that I want to save for our next jump.
"The really interesting part is that he actually tried to offer us a job! I turned him down, of course, as our records probably can't withstand that close of an inspection. Getting the mercenary license was dangerous enough; we can't afford to have two masters right at this point. I told him that we are still new to Vilani space and that we want to make sure we give trading a proper try before we go into any 'mercenary' or 'special ops' type of work."
After a moments pause, he finishes by saying, "Oh, I did have to admit the pirate attack to explain the internal weaponry. However, we have to be extremely careful to make sure that we never admit that the attack took place in Vilani space. If we do, and give too many details, they will be able to make the linkage. The attack took place in Imperial space. We probably need to come up with a consistent story for it, in case we ever get called on it."
NPC: Chuck & Simrii
Spec cargo has been unloaded. Darruz, unable to find any new spec cargo that he liked, opts for freight. Specifically, they'll be hauling various shipments of non-hazardous ammonium compounds to Aanshi.
Freight loaded. Since the ship's fuel has been refined, departure proceedings initiated.
Depart starport. Begin acceleration to jump point.
Jump to Aanshi.
NPC: Chuck & Simrii
Spirits are high as the Miishakaal arrives in the Aanshi system. The
Makhidkarun rep's gift of a bottle of Shukuush (a Vilani liqueur
reminiscent of Amaretto crossed with Drambuie) and Uekhfarsal (a Vargr
concoction that has often been compared to the Solomani liqueur, Absinthe) from
Aanshi Distillers is a hit with the crew. The safety of jump space isolation
offered the crew a chance to indulge a bit. Neither bottle survived the trip.
Chuck has suggested that more of these liquors be picked up as "social lubricant." At a price of 10 credits/liter, one isn't going to find a better price. At the very least, he intends to place an order for himself.
"Uekhfarsal!" Vlad chimes in with exuberance. "Yes! I'll take a case."
This gives Darrurz an idea. He gets to work with his hand comp, accessing BrokerNet despite the low bandwidth available at this distance.
"Captain, I have an idea I'd like to rrrun by you," Darrurz says to Gvarokh.
"Take over, Chuck," Gvarokh says. "What's on yourrr mind, Darrurz?"
"I believe that I can get Aanshi Liquor for 5 cccrrredits a literrr, as speccc carrrgo. I shouldn't have any problem selling it for three times that amount. Quite possibly more. Ratherrr than spend the whole speccc carrrgo budget on it though, I thought that I'd purrrchase two tons for 100,000 credits and fill the rest of the hold with frrreight. This way, if something else comes along and the liquor hasn't sold I can still," he smiles, "wheel and deal."
Gvarokh nods his head as he mulls over Darrurz's plan. "Sounds good," he says, "And if it doesn't pan out, we can all get drunk on the way to the poor house."
Both vargr laugh, and even Chuck picks up on the humor.
"Then I have work to do," Darrurz adds with a smile full of teeth. He departs from the Bridge.
The ship docks at the orbital starport, refuels, and unloads freight.
Speculative cargo arrives. It consists of two tons of a mix of various Aanshi brand liquors (5 cr/L). Included in this purchase, but in addition to the spec cargo, are a few cases that were specially requisitioned by the crew.
Freight loaded. Departure procedure initiated.
Jump to Imziinune!
Characters: Darrurz, Gvarokh and Vlad
System: Jumpspace, between Aanshi and Imziinune
After giving the crew a chance to get caught up on some sleep, Darrurz makes
his rounds to deliver the liquor that was ordered by the crew, and then some.
His first stop is Chuck.
Darrurz's opinion of this human has improved with time. Although he's not the sharpest claw in the paw, he means well. He's eager to please and steadfastedly loyal to Captain Gvarokh. And any human willing to be loyal to a vargr can't be all bad.
He's grateful to Darrurz for letting him buy a case of Aanshi Vodka at cost (40 cr) and thanks him repeatedly.
From here it's on to see Vlad. Darrurz hasn't interacted much with the big wolf. He spends a lot of his down time exercising and sparring with the human, Lakir. But Vlad is quite happy to receive his case of Uekhfarsal at cost. He's slaps Darrurz on the back and tells him what a good job he's doing as Ship's Trader. "I think we've made morrre money with you in eight weeks than the previous eighteen months."
Last but not least is the captain. Gvarokh is surprised that Darrurz is offering a case of Uekhfarsal at no charge.
Gvarokh thanks Darrurz very warmly for his generosity. He really does appreciate it.
Darrurz adds, "I'll be ppputting a mixed case in the ship's stores forrr general consumption. And I'll be kkkeeping a cccouple of cccases for myself to ease cargo negotitations, if need be."
Gvarokh smiles and responds, "Sounds like a prudent plan."