Arrival at Timat

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck, Uengghae, Kagfak, Major Arsashaammu, Major Elloekothe
Location: Miishakaal
System: Timat

1126.33.5 - 14:15 Imperial Time, 30:15 Vilani Time

After a week of language classes, exercise, and some low stakes poker games to foster crew familiarity, Miishakaal has arrived in the Timat system. The ship is scanned shortly after arriving. This time, the crew note that the scans came from a moon orbiting the same gas giant as Timat. The ship soon receives a friendly hail and receives an escort from a Chrysanthemum class destroyer escort.

17:00 Imperial Time, 1:00 Vilani Time

Deceleration begins.

20:35 Imperial Time, 4:35 Vilani Time

The escort ship says goodbye and continues on its way while Miishakaal begins the landing procedure for the naval base. She's directed to a large, flat circular structure whereupon a small opening appears. Uengghae pilots the ship in and then follows a holographic arrow to the proper landing bay. A Ueknou class corsair is next door.

After the ship touches down and the engines have been shut down, the comm indicates that there a message from Saul Rothchild, the friendly Sharurshid Security Chief, to contact him when you arrive.

Upon contacting him, he welcomes you to Timat Naval Station and states that he'll be down to see you shortly and give you a tour of the corsair. "She's all ready to go. Just needs a name, a new one that is. The old one would be suspicious. Your background will be that you came from the Irrgh Manifest in Corridor. I'm sure it won't be much of a stretch to say that you were bored and decided to try your luck in the trailing sectors. But if you feel more comfortable with a Touzagh background, we can go that route too. We'll update the registry with whatever you come up with."

The crew start throwing names around. When it's clear that this is going to take a while, Gvarokh asks Saul, "Can we get to you on that? And thanks for withholding the old name. This way it won't pollute the new name."

"Sure!"

While they wait for Saul to arrive debate over the names continues. Finally, it's put to a multiple choice vote. "Pack of Daggers" receives the most votes. Chuck is pleased as that is the name he suggested.

When Saul arrives, Gvarokh relays the name to him. Saul nods. "I like it."

As they walk to the ship, Gvarokh continues, "For our paint job, in the spot that would have been taken up by a flaming eye, it will now have a new symbol. The symbol is a set of five daggers arranged in an arc. The points are almost touching in the center, handles pointing out, arranged so that it covers about 120 degrees of a circle. The handles are brown (leather), the finger guards are brass, and the blades are silver. Behind the daggers is a blood red circle centered on the tips of the daggers, but the circle only expands just short of the finger guard. The top of the logo is the top of the center dagger; the bottom is the point of the edge of the circle farthest from the dagger handles. The daggers are double-edged with straight edges; the finger hard is simple, straight and small; the handle is leather wrapped with a small rounded pommel. We'll have a huge logo on the center top of the ship. Smaller logos on the dorsal fin, on the top of the port fin, and on the bottom of the starboard fin. The rest of the ship will be matte black.

"We'll make a similar logo with just a single dagger that we will use as an insignia on our armor. Since we are a pack of daggers, each individual is a single dagger."

Saul blinks in surprise. "Wow, it sounds like you gave it a lot of thought."

"Actually, the logo just popped into my head. I have no idea if I have accidentally stolen this from somewhere."

"Well, I won't tell. And look, here we are."

The New Ship

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck, Uengghae, Kagfak, Major Arsashaammu, Major Elloekothe
Location: Pack of Daggers
System: Timat

1126.33.5 - 23:10 Imperial Time, 7:10 Vilani Time

It's not the first time anyone has seen a Ueknou class corsair, but it's the closest most have been. The ex-corsairs wag their tails. Elloekothe has her paws on her hips, her jaw sticking out. She looks like she's challenging the ship.

Others see a weathered hot rod. Patches of new hull plating are evident. Light scorch marks—the kind that are too fine to fix—radiate from the new patches as if the latter were censor bars hiding the damage from the eyes. The overall shape with the fins and wings give it an exotic dagger appearance, like something out of a long forgotten holovid involving alien warriors who felt that it was honorable to die in hand-to-hand combat.

"With some paint she'll look as good as new," Saul says with a smile. "Let's head inside."

Dougok wags his tail wildly as they enter the new ship. Snapping his jaws at Elloekothe, he motions for her to board. "This one's not the enemy this time. Come on and let's learn her ways so that she can bite our foes for us."

She growls at him. "I'm not your bitch, so cut this 'us' shit." She crosses her arms and waits for him to move on. She makes sure there are at least four people between her and Dougok before she boards the ship.

Chuck's eyebrows go up in surprise as do Kagfak's and Uengghae's ears. The latter two look from Dougok to Elloekothe and whimper. Soon their tails are wagging and tongues are panting.

Dougok sniffs curiously and thoroughly throughout the ship, scenting not only the old crew but getting the feel of the ship from the smells of machines and weapons. He pokes about every cranny of the ship, running his hands over the surfaces not so much marking the vessel as gathering up his impressions. He's interested in the weapons and other systems, although he'll leave the engines to the engineers.

The ship has three decks. On the lowest deck is the air lock, cargo hold, secret stash hold (which isn't much of a secret), G-Carrier garage, ventral turret access, power plants, and jump drive.

On the middle deck lies the maneuver drives, fuel scoops and purification plant, sick bay, a large crew common area (easily 4x what's available on Miisha), galley, and all the crew's staterooms.

The top deck is home to the bridge, captain's quarters, 1st officer's quarters, dorsal turret access, and emergency low berths.

Overall, the ship seems in good shape. While there's still a noticeable vargr scent on board (despite the hatches being wide open), which is occasionally cut by recently welded metal and bleach. There are new parts on the drives (battle damage), but the previous engineer must've been dedicated to the engines because they look in fine shape.

Once the tour concludes and everyone is on the bridge, Dougok appears quite satisfied. "The ship has the look and feel and scent of a solid fighter. She has a fierce heart and will treat us well. I'm pleased. We should get our inventories done, familiarize ourselves with the systems, stock up, and depart."

Gvarokh ignores Dougok's presumption of leadership. Instead, he offers some info of the back story. "We can say that we were in Corridor and that the situation there had grown stale. That's far enough away that none of the locals should know us or the ship. We can add that we renamed the ship and splurged for a paint job for a fresh start in our new hunting grounds."

Dougok wags his tail and agrees that the Irrgh Manifest would work as a cover story. "How do we explain the mix of vargr and human in the ship?"

Gvarokh replies, "We took advantage of careless corsairs and got a jump on their ship."

Dougok nods. "And came this way to avoid retribution."

Chuck adds, "The Touzagh were a mixed lot. I know it's rare, but who says they have a monopoly on mixed crew corsairs. For all we know, that's what's happening in Corridor."

"Works for me," Saul says. "I'll have the boys get on a plausible nav log."

"One other thing," Gvarokh says. "I'd like a Vilani transponder in addition to whatever's already installed. This way we can blare that we're friendly when we cut back into Vilani space."

"Sorry. No can do. If someone finds it, your cover's blown. Not only will you be screwed but then someone can turn around and sell it. There's a sizable black market for those things. And if it was used to do another Envar on someone else...

"Don't worry; we'll get the word out to base commanders that a Ueknou named Pack of Daggers is one of our own."

"But what—"

"Just do everything that they tell you to do. If they say stand down, then stand down. So long as you don't get caught attacking Vilani ships, you'll be fine. And if some local dick throws you in the brig, sit tight. Word will get back to the admiral soon enough, and he'll spring you. And then that local dick will be in a heap of shit." He adds a smile to take the sting out of his words.

Gvarokh nods in acceptance.

Vlad says, "The inability to immediately identify ourselves as friendlies is somewhat worrying..."

Gvarokh attempts to reassure Vlad. "That's what our two new crewmembers should be able to help us with."

Elloekothe nods, her expression serious.

Gvarokh continues, "But that is the always the risk when going deep undercover. We'll just have to be careful and remember who our friends are, like these guys, and focus on them. But let's not get shot to shit in the first place, and it won't matter."

Gvarokh turns to Saul, "Were you able to upgrade the weapons?"

"Yeah, the admiral pulled some strings. He got you two plasma turrets. They're on her belly. It was the easiest place to install them. Less energy conduit to upgrade, less bulkheads to rip apart.

"The other two turrets are pulse lasers."

"Great! Thank you. And thank him for us."

Dougok speaks up: "Can we get a letter of credence of some sort? There is a human word for it..." He wags his tail. "A get out of jail free card."

Saul nods. "I'm sorry, but that would also blow your cover. Look, we'll have a scout follow you to the border to make sure no one derails the mission before it starts. The next time you enter Vilani territory, we'll have gotten the word out. Nothing to worry about."

Gvarokh says, "Now that that's done. Let's get started moving our gear over. Saul, our engineers will need help moving our old collapsible fuel bladder over. Do you have anything that you can let us use?"

"One grav sled coming right up. In fact, I'll see about rounding up a few of them for you." With that, he departs.

"Ok, on to room assignments. First officer's cabin on the upper deck goes to Lakir.

"On this deck, the cabin closest to the galley goes to Chuck.

"Proceeding clockwise, cabin two goes to Simrii. The room connects with an access tube to the port turrets. That'll make going from off duty to battlestations in an emergency that much easier.

"Cabin three goes to Dougok.

"Cabin four goes to Kagfak.

"Cabin five, at the end of the hall on the left, goes to Uengghae. There's an iris in the floor at the end of the hall that leads to the G-Carrier garage. Again, going from off duty to GC can be done in a snap.

"Starting at the end of the hall on the right, we have Elloe, then Slade, and Vlad.

"Vincent's room, like Simrii's across the hall, connects to the starboard turrets access tube.

"The closest cabin here on the right is for Irma. It's adjacent to sickbay, where I imagine she'll be spending a great deal of time with her research.

"Does anyone object to their room assignments?"

Gvarokh gets mostly shrugs in reply. Dougok shakes his head and says, "I'm fine with my stateroom assignment."

"Ok then. Let's get rolling, people."

With the tour and meeting concluded, everyone heads back to Miishakaal to get their stuff and the equipment that they're bringing.

A Word After the Meeting

Characters: Gvarokh & Dougok
Location: Pack of Daggers
System: Timat

1126.33.6 - 00:15 Imperial Time, 8:15 Vilani Time

Before Dougok can leave, Gvarokh says, "Dougok, a word please."

Dougok wags his tail slightly.

After everyone has left the bridge, Dougok follows Gvarokh into the captain's cabin. It's neat; an air freshener exudes the scent of a high steppe grasslands. A table with two chairs lies at the far end of the room. A couch and comfy chair are on the right wall with the chair closest to the door. Midway along the left wall is the doorway to the bedroom.

Dougok looks around curiously and takes a deep, unconscious sniff of the air.

Gvarokh stops when he reaches the bedroom doorway, then turns to face Dougok. He assumes an even greater air of authority than he normally does. Dougok starts to bristle and then relaxes, although he retains a strong posture with his tail erect and ears up and forward.

Gvarokh says, "I need you to tone down your advances toward Elloe. It's clear that you irritate her—I don't know why—but we need her help to accomplish this mission. And if she's preoccupied with irritation, she's not going to be able to focus on the task at paw. So just give her some space."

After the captain finishes speaking, Dougok chuffs and wags his tail a bit, although his posture if anything grows more determined.

He switches to Gvegh as the ensuing conversation is more natural to him in his native language. "I've noticed she's a bit touchy. I'd say she's irked that I'm a corsair. Either she lost someone, or she's overcompensating because of the perception she might be a 'tame' Vargr." He flicks his ears in a shrug and wags his tail a bit more. "She draws attention to her like a wounded gazelle draws wolves. Plus she's a tough, smart, and attractive bitch; any scars she'd give in a mating tussle would be worth it." He snaps his jaws and his tail goes high in a display of confidence. "But it is obvious she's irritated. There is no prestige in chasing down a wounded prey, nor do I wish to jeopardize the success of the pack in this hunt. I will stay clear of her and avoid giving any cause for irritation by act, by deed or by failure to act."

Gvarokh maintains his authoritative stance and says, "That's a pretty interesting analysis. To be honest, I figured that you had moved past the situation, but I simply needed to make sure. It is good that you have. You are both valuable members of the pack; doing what you can to make it work well is greatly appreciated.

Dougok accepts the body language standoff, although there is nothing in his posture that is challenging. He wags his tail in agreement as the situation with Elloe seems to be resolved. "I'm sure she's enough of a professional to work around any personal issues."

Gvarokh says, "On a completely different subject, you have noticed that I got you combat armor." Dougok's ears swivel forward with interest as the armor is mentioned. "The reason is because we are likely to be in some high intensity situations where we are going to need you. That means you need full protection. Work with Simrii during jump times to get familiar with it.

"I know you weren't enthused about it, but think of the possibilities. Once we get into Vargr space, I am sure we can find some nice attachments that will play right into your best combat skills, like claw extensions and such." Gvarokh finishes the last sentence with a knowing smirk.

Dougok replies, "I find the idea of the combat armor growing on me. With claw extensions and some other easy customization it should increase my effectiveness tremendously. I will definitely work with Simrii on the combat armor as well as Kafgak and Uengghae on learning the ins and outs of my new ACR." Gvarokh takes a more casual stance and walks up to Dougok. He claps him on the back and says, "Now, let's go get our stuff!"

Dougok wags his tail. "Definitely, we'll make them roll over and show us their bellies."

Leaving Timat

Characters: All
NPC: Chuck, Uengghae, Kagfak, Major Arsashaammu, Major Elloekothe
Location: Pack of Daggers
System: Timat

1126.33.6 - 12:15 Imperial Time, 20:15 Vilani Time

The ship is all packed and ready to go. The fuel bladder has been installed, the nav logs forged, the new identity loaded into the transponder.

Gvarokh wanted the crew to be aware of their planned route, so he called a meeting. After calling up a map of the local area, he says, "Our most obvious entry point is through Odinaga and then either Gamgilebo or Rronaetuts. Since we've hit Gamgilebo before, I think doing a straight shot from Odinaga to either Ugarun or Rronaetuts would probably work best as it keeps us on new territory.

"If we go to Rronaetuts, then we can straight shot into Gemid. On the other hand, maybe we want to bounce around a little first and go Ugarun, Daama, Gemid. Does anyone have any suggestions?"

Vlad says, "Doesn't matter to me."

Dougok appears to be mulling things over, but doesn't articulate his thoughts just yet.

Elloekothe says, "It matters to me. I'm fine if you want to avoid someone that might recognize you on Gamgilebo. In fact, that's smart.

"I have contacts on Ugarun. It's very open economically, but it can be cutthroat. If a corsair smells weakness, he'll be at your throat.

"Rronaetuts is quiet. No one sticks around. They re-fuel and go.

"Daama is a launching point for corsairs to head out and attack Vilani worlds. There's a good chance that whoever attack Envar passed through there."

Lakir nods towards Elloekothe and says, "From what our intel officer says, it seems like we should take the Ugarun and Daama route on our way to Gemid."

Dougok looks up from the charts of the local subsectors. "I think we go to Ugarun as well. It has two gas giants which will give us more options as well as a C starport that we could use to pick up rumors if we go there. Also if we are traders, it would be best to do some trading. Daama makes sense with the better starport as well as a chance to sniff about for rumors. There will be wolves at loose ends from their packs who may have good information."

Gvarokh says, "It's settled, then. Ugarun."

13:15 Imperial Time, 21:15 Vilani Time

You've informed your scout escort that your next destination is Odinaga. Gvarokh is in the pilot's seat and clearance has been granted to take off. Saul wishes you good hunting.

Gvarokh fires up the engines and gingerly coaxes the ship up from the pad. He can feel the weight of the craft, double the bulk of Miishakaal. But he can also sense the extra power. Flying is going to be fun, he thinks. Once Pack of Daggers is clear of the landing field and tower, he cranks up the power. The ship responds. In no time at all, their soaring through the clouds and out into space.

Gvarokh can't help but grin.

A comm call comes in from their scout escort, "Uh, Captain Gvarokh, could you reduce speed a bit? You're getting a bit far ahead of me."

"Sorry. Got carried away."

"Yes sir. That happens."

14:45 Imperial Time, 22:45 Vilani Time

As Odinaga is a far smaller world than Timat, both ships cease accelerating to reduce decel time later.

Gvarokh notes that Miishakaal would've taken an additional 40 minutes to get to this point, and he didn't even have the ship anywhere near full speed.

Gvarokh comms down to engineering, "How did she do, Slade?"

"If these displays are accurate, she's running just fine. I'll make some modifications to the sensor telemetry while we're in jump just to make sure."

"We'll be coasting for the next three hours. That should give you plenty of time to make any tweaks before we have to jump."

"Roger that."

17:45 Imperial Time, 25:45 Vilani Time

Slade has made the necessary modifications to the maneuver drive sensor telemetry to reflect readings he's more familiar with. He was able to test them with Gvarokh's assistance, firing the thrusters in short bursts, just enough to gather data.

All of the preliminary testing of the jump drive has gone well. Now it's time for the real thing.

Gvarokh lets everyone know they're going to jump and counts down. At zero he engages the jump drive. There aren't any surprises. The stars race towards them and the ship slips effortlessly into the familiar pink and grey glow of jumpspace.

Next: Arrival at Odinaga