NPC: Kagfak, Uennghae, Chuck, four human passengers
Miishakaal emerges from jumpspace. Unlike last time (15 weeks ago),
passive sensors aren't picking up the signs of battle. However, in a matter of
minutes, the ship is active scanned. Kagfak uses the passive sensors to track
the source. Even without active scanning it, the source is close enough for the
computer to be 88% certain that it's a Chrysanthemum class destroyer
escort. You are soon hailed.
"Attention, Miishakaal. This is the ZSS Pashukipim. Decelerate at once and prepare to be boarded."
"We read you, Pashukipim. We will comply. Miishakaal out."
After responding to the Pashukipim, Gvarokh opens the internal communication system so everyone (including the passengers) can hear and says, “We are going to be boarded by a detachment from a local defense escort. This will result in a slow process of debriefing and reintegration into Vilani space. While I am sure it will be aggravating, it *is* Vilani, so it should be expected. When we are boarded, we will comply with their requests. When we are interrogated and debriefed, just tell the truth. We were on orders and on mission. That will carry us through this process successfully.”
Miishakaal and Pashukipim have come to a stop. A cutter has docked
with Miishakaal and a boarding party has come aboard.
"Permission to come aboard," the squad leader asks.
"Granted," Gvarokh says, pleased to hear that permission was asked when they could've done what they wanted.
The boarding party stands back providing cover, weapons at the ready. The squad leader examines Gvarokh and each of the crew members and passengers. "Ok I want you three," he gestures to Kagfak, Uengghae, and Dougok, "to stand over there." He indicates the galley end of the crew lounge.
Dougok suppresses a growl. His body language is tense and his tail is held down and rigid in a posture of leashed readiness. He takes a step forward but stops as the squad raise their weapon.
All three look to Gvarokh, who nods that it will be ok. They comply and Dougok motions for Gvarokh to continue with whatever cover story he has prepared.
"Is there anyone else on board, Captain?"
Gvarokh answers, "Four passengers in low berth, my engineer in engineering, and four other passengers in the passenger lounge above us."
After a quick nod from the squad leader, two Marines head aft towards engineering while two more board the lift and head up.
"Is there a problem?" Gvarokh asks.
"I hope not."
A minute passes and the tension is a bit high. Gvarokh tries to cut it. "Look, if you talk to Security Chief Rothchild..."
"Hold on a second, Captain."
Gvarokh bites his tongue and waits.
"Ok, you and your crew check out. But these three don't." The remaining members of his squad raise their weapons at the vargr trio. "What can you tell me about them and the passengers updeck?"
Gvarokh says, "I can explain the situation. We were, uh, recruited by the Vilani Navy to enter Vargr space and either find out what happened to or, ideally, rescue two Vilani ships and their crews..."
The squad leader interrupts him. "Yes, sir, we know that. We just need you to identify these vargr."
"Oh. Well, in the course of the rescue of the Qa Livk's crew, we also rescued the passengers updeck and the four passengers in the low berths. The three crewmen you have identified joined us in Vargr space and were instrumental in our success. They are loyal crewmen who do not deserve to have guns drawn on them and treated as enemies. We would not have succeeded in our mission had they not helped us at the risk of their own lives."
At that, he will pause to see if the short version of the story will suffice.
Dougok wags his tail, pleased with Gvarokh's appreciation of his work.
"And you're saying that of your own free will." It's a statement, but the squad leader appears to want confirmation.
Gvarokh tilts his head to the side, a bit confused. "Yes."
The squad leader relaxes and the rest of his squad stands down. "Ok, then. Sorry about that." He nods to the vargr trio. "We had to make sure that you weren't being forced into saying that."
Chuck voices the group's confusion. "Why would someone force us into saying they part of our crew."
"One of your crewmembers is missing: a vargr named Darrurz. We didn't know if he was being held hostage in exchange for getting these guys across the border or what. Based on the report we got out of Diiron, it was felt that precautionary measures were necessary."
A sigh of relief is released throughout the crew.
"Now that you've been cleared, our captain's orders are to escort you to the starport. Security Chief Rothchild will be notified of your arrival." He pauses a moment, then adds, "Welcome home, Captain."
As the boarding party makes their way out, Gvarokh asks, "Did the Qa Livk make it back?"
"Yes, it did. I don't know what they said in their debriefing but it impressed the hell out of the brass."
With that they leave the Miishakaal. Gvarokh then gives the order to set a course for the starport.
Lakir says, "Holy crap. It’s been a looonnnngggg time, comin’ home, and successful, at that; at least until Rothchild get his hands on us. Hope he don’t want the turrets back.
"I need a drink."
"Me too," Chuck adds.
Gvarokh radios the starport to request a medic be available when they arrive to revive their low berth passengers. Afterwards he lets the passengers know their itinerary and asks them where they want to get off.
Captain Urshakekar says, "I would've preferred Diiron as that's where my ship was taken. But there's a naval base here at Timat so maybe they can help me out."
Gvarokh offers to take Captain Urshakekar back to Diiron once they've cleared things with Rothchild.
"Thanks! I'd appreciate that. I'm going to speak with someone here about it and find out what the proper procedure is."
NPC: Kagfak, Uennghae, Chuck, four human passengers
Once at the starport, Rothchild is the first in a group of people to greet the
crew of the Miishakaal. He shakes Gvarokh's paw and anyone else who's
willing. He congratulates them on a job well done. "The Qa Livk's captain told
us what you did. Bold and brave. They weren't optimistic that you were going to
make it, and since it's taken you so long to get home we feared the worst."
Before Gvarokh can explain, Rothchild points at the hull damage and inquires about internal injuries to the ship. Gvarokh has Slade explain but Rothchild stops him before he gets too far. He grabs the shoulder of one of the men in his group. "Tell Borofsky here everything that needs to be repaired. Sharushariid is picking up the tab. Slade brings Borofsky on board the ship and points out everything that needs repairs.
Gvarokh asks, "Is the medic with you to oversee the low berth revivals?"
"Yes." He turns around. "Leopold? There you are." A human female emerges from the group.
Chuck steps forwards and introduces himself. He eagerly guides her inside the ship to the low berths.
Rothchild turns his attention back to Gvarokh. "It's going to get real busy in here. Let's go find a conference room and we'll get this debriefing started."
Gvarokh asks, "Can you do something about that paint job?"
Rothchild laughs. "Yes, definitely."
Gvarokh looks around and asks if anyone wants to go. Dougok steps forward along with Captain Urshakekar. Seeing no one else coming forward, Gvarokh asks that Lakir join him too.
Gvarokh brings his hand-comp in case he needs to access anything from the ship's computer. His comm line remains open so that everyone else can listen in on what happens.
Gvarokh, Lakir, Dougok and Captain Urshakekar leave with Rothchild and his aides. Slade and Chuck tend to their tasks. Everyone else just hangs out on the ship.
Characters: Gvarokh, Lakir, Dougok (the rest are on the ship,
NPC: Captain Urshakekar, Security Chief Rothchild
Location: a conference room aboard Timat Station
On the way over, Vincent comms Gvarokh, "Don't tell him about my hack of the Qa
Gvarokh texts back, "Wasn't going to."
The conference room hosts a table with twelve chairs. There is a holoprojector in the middle of the table. Other than a small sink in the corner, there's nothing else in the room. A window looks down on Timat.
Once the four guys from Miishakaal enter the room, one of Rothchild's aides closes the door.
Gvarokh says, "Before we begin, I'd like to request a favor."
"Would you please send a note to Captain Udergaagumaasa of the Dashagirkisgi at Diiron letting him know that we're legitimate. We kinda skipped out on him—openly and with permission—to come straight here. He wanted assurances that we were legit and we didn't want to wait around while he figured that out."
"How long was he going to take?"
"We don't know. They were in the midst of mopping up after a skirmish with corsairs and he couldn't get to us. He requested that we land on some island, to quarantine us, and we weren't comfortable with that."
"That matches the message that the courier brought us. Don't worry. I'll be sure to let him know." He looks to one of his aides who nods his head and takes notes on a PDA. "Now, I recognize you and Lakir. Who are these other two?"
Gvarokh handles the introductions. "This is Dougok. We met him on Ikhog, which is where the Touzagh's main base was. His intel was instrumental in our raid. We couldn't have completed the mission without him.
"And this is Captain Urshakekar of the free trader Agile Agikhi. His ship was taken from him at Diiron and he and his surviving crew were taken prisoner with the intent of being sold into slavery. I'm sure the Qa Livk's captain told you about that. And the four passengers in low berths were also taken but they were from a different free trader, Ronni's Raven."
Rothchild replies, "Yes, they did. The last report we received was from our operative on Gamgilebo was that you were there and following up on the Fitzpatrick and Qa Livk, then a week and a half later you left the system."
Gvarokh explains about working for Khalidurton as a cover to search the system for the missing ships. He relates to him the fate of the Fitzpatrick, being attacked in the asteroid belt, defeating their attackers and then learning about the location of the pirate base on one of Getes moons. Gvarokh explains the plan they used to gain access to the pirate base to destroy it.
"Mighty big risk you took there trusting those two pirates. They could've betrayed you."
"Then they would've been dead," Gvarokh replies. Rothchild nods, conceding the point. "I may be an Imperial Vargr but I still understand how charisma works."
Gvarokh skips over the trip to Ikhog, briefly explains how Vlad met Dougok and that Vincent hacked a weather satellite to spy on the base. He then describes the attack on the base and the liberation of the prisoners, the quick run to the Qa Livk, and their fight to reach safe jump distance.
He makes use of a holomap to show the route they took to limp back to Vilani space. He remembers to mention the reception they received from anti- and pro-Touzagh forces within the Confederation Navy.
When Gvarokh tells Rothchild that they heard reports that the Touzagh had fallen apart, the Security Chief nods his head. "We're hearing the same thing. It's not deterring the pirates from attacking us, but they seem less organized and poorly executed. That battle you saw at Diiron probably would've gone the other way if the attackers had their act together and more ships. We almost lost Odinaga a couple of times. The Navy still has them on the patrol routes so we were able to supplement their forces until they could bring new ships on line." He shakes his head thinking about it then brightens. "But it sounds like you boys gave them some breathing room."
Gvarokh hands over a holocrystal with all the necessary data, as well as the occasional report logged by Gvarokh, from their mission and Rothchild thanks him.
"Oh and we still have your iris valve opener."
"By the way, do you have any captured corsairs that are still intact? Or do the fights always end up in destroyed ships."
"As you know, vargr are rarely fanatical like Aslan, where surrender is dishonorable. So yes, we have some intact pirate ships. Why do you ask?"
Gvarokh responds, “Well, this is probably a bit bold, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
"I am not entirely sure how cut out my crew and I really are for pure merchant work, especially since we have lost two of our traders at this point. I believe we have shown we are both loyal and competent. Imagine how much impact we could have if we had a much more effective ship at our disposal.”
Rothchild thinks for a few seconds, then replies, "Oh, I see. You want to be privateers. Yes, you've certainly proven both loyalty and competence. You got the job done, despite the fact that the odds were stacked against you. As for competence... Ha! You did it with a trader, a heavily armed trader, but a trader nonetheless.
"Yes, I have to say that you are certainly resourceful. Well you'd certainly get my vote, but it's not up to me. You'll have to run it by Lun Miisha. I will, however, send my recommendations. I believe you have something of his that I'm sure he wants back."
As the group is about the leave, Captain Urshakekar asks for help in filing a grievance for his lost ship. "And I'm sure that Captain Daagudakur will want to file one as well."
"Absolutely. I'll have one of my personnel assist you with the forms and proper procedure and my office will validate your loss and provide the insurance company with the pertinent data from Captain Gvarokh's mission logs."
END PART 2
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