Location: Miishakaal, parked at Merghia Downport
Gvarokh and Lakir return to the ship to find Chuck and Simrii in the crew
lounge. Simrii is reclined in a chair, holding an ice pack to his forehead.
"What happened?" asks Gvarokh.
Simrii replies, "Walked into a hatch. No big deal."
"No big deal?" Chuck exclaims. "You knocked yourself out cold. I had to revive you with smelling salts."
"Speaking of which," Simrii asks, looking pointedly at Chuck, "where the hell does one get F-Tech smelling salts? Seriously, Gvar and Darr are going to be smelling that stuff for a month."
"Last year, when we were at Kaso."
Gvarokh says, "Well, since you're here, now's probably as good a time as any to have a meeting to discuss everything we've learned." He then comms everyone to come to the crew lounge for a meeting.
Once assembled, Gvarokh and Lakir go over what they've learned today from their various meetings. Gvarokh adds that maybe the ship needs a flashier paint job.
Darrurz wags his tail as he uses his paws to manipulate the holo of the Miishakaal with his proposed new colour scheme.
Lakir kick offs the discussion portion with what he feels are the important points. "There seems to be no corsairs apparent at the regular ports O' call. Nobody seems to like to snoop around the system, yet system control accepts the presence of the corsairs.
"So, corsairs maintain a separate base or station, of sorts, at least to refit and refuel, somewhere in the system. Nothing obvious, but enough to scare off casual pokin' around in system.
"The corsair 'take' is immediately moved out system, for processing, no locals involved, aside from maybe a payout to system control. The stuff's probably being moved deeper into the Confederation.
"We've got a bar to hit, dirtside, at least. Maybe we can learn some more there. Hopefully, we've got the right cargo mix, to turn a few creds."
Before anyone can reply, Darrurz looks at the others with a massive toothy grin on his face, a showbiz flourish of his arms, and a "Taddaaar".
Proud of his work, he can't help but describe it, "Fluorescent green with jagged diagonal scarlet strips and a silver-lined golden lightning flash down the port and starboard sides, with gun metal gray around the windows, hatches and turrets. Now that's just cooooelll."
Lakir cringes. "Maybe flashier colours aren't goin' ta be so good."
Chuck laughs. "I love it!"
Vlad grins. "Looks like somebody vomited up a rainbow."
Simrii closes his eyes and envisions the ship. "In space, no one can hear your fashion sense scream." He adds, "You know it hurts my eye's just thinking about it, it's brilliant."
Lakir reconsiders his opinion, "On second thought, I love it. The color scheme works for me."
Gvarokh says, "How about if we make it non-fluorescent green? Other than that, I like the color scheme."
"We'll put in a request for the paintjob. However, I want to schedule it for just before we leave. That means, I want us to take on cargo prior to doing the paint job.
"And as for the cargo, I want to get those 40 tons of volatiles or food. I do not want any freight. I want it all to be speculative cargo. And, no, I don't expect to necessarily make money. I just don't want the obligations of freight.
Darrurz takes note of the order. "I'll get r-r-r-right on it."
Location: Miishakaal, parked at Merghia Downport
Darrurz has hit BrokerNet and come up with 20 tons of various compressed
gasses priced out at 5,000 cr/ton, plus 400 cr for registration. There isn't
much as there's a high demand for volatiles here on Odinaga.
As for food, Darrurz thinks it's overpriced and not likely to result any profit.
There isn't anything else available that Darrurz feels will be profitable.
As the crew is on Vilani time, it is the end of a very long day. Most of you haven't slept much, if any, since your arrival in the system almost 30 hours ago. The ship's security system is activated and everyone gets much needed sleep.
The crew is refreshed after a full night's sleep, a shower and breakfast. The
ship has maneuvered over to the shipyard for its "specialized" paint job.
The pattern for the paint job was emailed the night before so the paint technician has had a chance to review it.
As he stares down at his tablet, he says, "Man, I like it! It's not often that I get to do something cool. It's always the same boring, standardized paint jobs. A pinstripe is about as crazy as they get."
After finalizing your specifications, he informs you that it will cost 2,000 credits. "Come back in four hours. She'll be ready to go by then."
The crew decides to just stay put rather than wander around. They pass the time hanging out in the customer lounge utilizing the terminals to read, watch shows, play games, etc.
With the paint job done, the crew prep the ship for departure.
Leave starport and head out to jump point.
End acceleration. Begin decel burn.
Location: Miishakaal crew lounge
System: Jumpspace between Odinaga and Gamgilebo
Gvarokh asks Slade to transfer the bladder fuel into the main fuel tanks. Slade complies.
Gvarokh has called a meeting to review the information they know, talk about
how to make contact with Sharusharid operative Khaash Kharlimini, and how to
conduct the search for the missing craft. He also wants to talk about contact
strategies and combat strategies.
"Here's what we know: The Qa Livk was sent to investigate a gas giant suspected of becoming the system's fourth star. It disappeared. The Fitzpatrick was sent to find it and it too disappeared.
"Vargr have overrun Gamgilebo. Although it hasn't been officially announced, they have to be allied with the Ngath Confederation somehow. The mining operations in the Gamgilebo Belt are still in operation but the ore isn't going to Sharusharid. It's going to the Ngath Confederation. Traders are still allowed to trade but they're not welcomed with open arms.
"The Ngath let pirates operate within their borders so long as they don't attack Confederation shipping. Their Navy won't take their side though as ships are allowed to defend themselves.
"One pirate outfit, calling itself the Touzagh, seems to be the dominant player in the region.
"There's probably a corsair base in the system as the last guy we spoke to said that he's never seen corsairs at the starport."
Vlad nods in assent.
Gvarokh asks, "Does anyone have any suggestions about how to contact the Sharusharid operative?"
Chuck replies, "I guess a couple of us should go to his bar and check it out. See if it's safe to contact him there. It sounds like the vargr aren't being overly restrictive about the way the locals behave, so long as they don't interfere with the mining operations."
Vlad nods in assent.
"As for hunting for the missing craft, we have their buoy ID codes. So long as the missing ships were able to launch them before they disappeared, we should be able to find them."
When the subject turns to combat strategies, Gvarokh explains, "I want to use the same approach I was going to use at Odinaga, I want to be close before we fire to maximize effect and hopefully not tip our hand too early. For at least the first contact. After that, we might have to change things up.
Lakir adds, "As an aside to this, I'd suggest a couple of changes to the jump exit routine: Someone keeps the 'iris opener' close at hand, for jumpspace exit. Full pers load out, guns and ammo, for 'repel boarders', c/w extra O2, and a bit of zero G practice, for us non '0 heads', so we can at least move around the ship, if we get hit again."
Gvarokh says, "Actually, that is a great idea. For the rest of the trip in jump space, I want us to work through a plan on how we react to boarders. Also, I want to make sure multiple people are trained on the can opener. I will just have to figure out who to appoint to what. Having a plan for boarders is something that we really need to happen."
The rest of the meeting is spent working out a plan to deal with boarders. The remaining waking hours in jump are spent in drills to work out the bugs in the plan.
Next: Arrival At Gamgilebo