NPC: Chuck, Uengghae, Kagfak, Major Arsashaammu, Major Elloekothe
Location: Pack of Daggers
The crew has spent the week in jumpspace familiarizing themselves with the
layout of the new ship and its equipment. Slade has kept busy learning what the
engines sound like in optimum conditions and noting any resonant frequencies in
the hull and supports.
The doctor has been busy setting up her lab. Chuck has assisted on occasion.
Lakir has run some combat simulations for the gunners and trained for boarding incidents.
There's the typical workout routines, aided by the larger spaces to work in. The crew has also enjoyed the larger crew lounge.
Dougok has kept his distance from Elloekothe. She seems to be spending a good deal of time with Kagfak and Uengghae. There have been no further incidents.
And now the ship has emerged from jumpspace around the gas giant, Fatooh. Odinaga is a moon of the gas giant. There's a tense period of twenty minutes while Pack of Daggers waited for its escort to arrive. The last time they were here, over six months ago, they walked in on a trader being attacked by three Touzagh corsairs. They'd hoped to sneak past them, but the corsairs noticed and started hunting them. Fortunately, four system defense boats showed up and, thanks to interfacing with Miishakaal's sensors, took them out.
When the escort arrives, it hails Pack of Daggers and then notifies the Odinaga's defense forces that both ships are friendly and not to shoot at them.
Both ships have landed at Merghia Downport. Your scout escort, Ku
Iplikhisa, has made arrangements for fuel and life support refurbishment for
Chuck decides that he's going to go over to the Ku and talk Scout stuff.
Dougok suggests scouting about the downport. Lakir agrees with him.
Gvarokh says, "Yes, everyone is free to hit the downport if they want. Our stay will be short, maybe just a few hours. Keep in mind that this is the last time we will be in Vilani space for a while."
Dougok adds that it might be a good idea to pair up: one human and one vargr.
Gvarokh agrees. "That's probably a good idea," he glances over at Chuck, "but not required."
Chuck nods, then says, "Catch you guys later." He leaves.
Uengghae, Kagfak, Elloekothe, and Arsashaammu all indicate that they're staying on board.
Dougok refrains from asking Elloekothe to change her mind. Gvarokh is thankful for that.
Vlad says that he'll head out too. "I just need to get off the ship for a bit and grab some real food at a decent sit-down place."
Vincent, Slade, and Simrii decide that there's nothing worth checking out so they remain on the ship.
Before anyone leaves, Gvarokh recommends legality. "This is still Vilani space, and we are to be on our best behavior. I want no problems on this stop. Err on the legal side; don't push it."
All three (Dougok, Lakir, Vlad) wear their flex armor on underneath their clothes and bring comms. Lakir also brings his super PDA and language translator.
Characters: Vlad, Lakir, Dougok
Location: Merghia Downport
The trio disembark down the gantry arm. For an A-class starport, it seems quite
unkempt. The place is messy. Garbage hasn't been picked up. The floors haven't
been vacuumed. There are stains here and there. Damaged areas have been hastily
The north terminal is still closed, as it was the last time Vlad and Lakir were here. A sign displays in Galanglic, "Opening soon!", which is some measure of progress.
There are a few squatters camped out in the main concourse. There's a mix of people, most appear to be refugees with all their possessions stashed around them. A few even appear to be marooned spacers. One guy even has a sign that says, "Will work for passage." All of these people are cordoned off from the rest of the starport with short poles and yellow "do not cross" tape. They're not prisoners. They come and go as they please. Two starport security personnel (both human males) are standing nearby, chatting amiably with one of the refugees.
One of them looks your way and his eyes go wide with alarm. He taps his partner, who immediately looks your way. They move to intercept.
With one hand on his holstered laser pistol and the other held out in front of him in that universal "halt" gesture, he says, "Excuse me. Excuse me. I need to see some ID."
His partner also has a hand on his holstered laser pistol. With his other, he taps his comm and talks into it. He can be heard to say, "Command, we've got two vargr and a human coming out of the west terminal. Please advise."
Dougok comes to a halt and glances at his comrades. Moving very slowly he pulls out his bank card. "Our ship just arrived in port and we're out to stretch our legs."
Vlad holds his tongue for the moment and tries very hard to look non-threatening.
Lakir steps forward with his strong hand raised, palm out. "Whoa, pal, we're just in off of the Pack O' Daggers. We ain't got any ID you'd recognize, but we can link with your system if you need credentials." He starts tapping his holstered hand comp with his support hand. "Me and the boys here, we're just goin' for a stroll. It's been a long stretch in jumpspace. If that's an issue, we can head back to the ship and pass on your 'welcoming attitude' to other guys just lookin to spend a few creds."
The first security guy slowly comes forward and takes Dougok's bank card. He doesn't take his eyes off of him and the gun leveled at him. He flips the bank card back to his partner who catches it no problem.
The second guy runs it through some small device and says, "Says he's got a bank account on Maran. It's verified as 'resident'."
The first guy then says, "Contact command about this 'Pack of Daggers' ship."
The second guy speaks into the comm and asks about the ship. Several tense seconds go by. "Command says it just docked with a scout ship escort. It all checks out. We're to stand down." He walks over Dougok and hands his bank card back to him.
The first guy lowers his weapon but doesn't holster it. He says to the trio, "I guess you're free to go. Try to stay out of trouble."
Lakir asks the guard, "All you boys this friendly around here, or should we just head back to our ship? Don't feel like goin' through this routine each time we turn a new corner in this 'burb." The guard snaps back, "What did you expect? You've got two vargr with you. In case you haven't heard, we've had more than our fair share of pirates raiding us from over the border. And they ain't Aslan.
"If you don't want to get a pat down every time you run into security, then we can escort you to command where you can pick up an ID."
Lakir turns to Vlad and Dougok and says, "Well, your call. I'm not crazy about leavin' an electronic trail here that this new ID will require. I'm thinkin' we head back to the ship."
Vlad replies, "Agreed. I was going to suggest that anyway."
Dougok wrinkles his muzzle in the equivalent of a shrug. "It doesn't bother me. I'd like to get off the ship, stretch my legs and sniff out this new place."
"Screw this," Lakir says. "I'm headed back to the ship."
"Me too," Vlad adds. "Dinner isn't worth dealing with this nonsense."
On that note, Lakir and Vlad return to the ship while Dougok continues on his way into "town".
Characters: Vlad, Lakir, Gvarokh, Slade, Simrii, Vincent
NPC: Kagfak, Uengghae, Major Arsashaammu, Major Elloekothe
Location: Pack of Daggers, parked at Merghia Downport
Forty-five minutes after they left, Lakir and Vlad return to the ship. Gvarokh
sees them return and asks, "Back so soon?"
Vlad replies, "We were stopped by security."
Lakir replies, "Because we were two vargr and a human walking around, and the locals are a bit twitchy about vargr after all the raidin' they've been dealing with."
Vlad adds, "They demanded to see our ID. Not having anything local, we showed them our bank cards. One guy commed it in while the other kept a gun on us. Fortunately, whoever was on the other end of the line said we were ok."
Lakir continues, "The only way to avoid constant patdowns would be to get a local ID. Neither one of us felt like dealing with that shit—digital trails and all that—so we came back."
Gvarokh nods. "Ok, but where's Dougok?"
Vlad says, "He said that it didn't bother him. He really wanted to stretch his legs and sniff out the place."
Vincent is alarmed by this news. "I think we need to go find him. Like now. Before he's no longer living!"
Lakir dismisses him. "Meh. He's a big doggy now; he can clean up his own shit. Not like he didn't have warning. Last thing we need is the balance of the crew in a dust up with the doggie hatin' local admin regime. But hey, if you want to go that way, it's gotta be you and Chuck, and maybe some of his buddies, as I'm already tagged by the local yokels."
Vlad concurs, "Indeed. This hunt would be a pinkies-only affair."
Gvarokh snarls. "He'll either make it back on his own, or we'll bail him out of jail. Either way, he likely isn't coming back until he is ready, and hurrying him up will likely only make things worse."
Everyone goes back to their business, checking systems (everyone is still getting used to the new ship), monitoring the refueling, and so on.
Chuck returns to the ship. He pops his head in on the bridge. "The guys outside
said that refueling should be done in another 15 minutes. Should I start the
Gvarokh replies, "Yes."
Chuck takes a seat and starts going through systems. He informs the crew that the refueling will be done in fifteen minutes and that they should begin preparations for departure.
Meanwhile, Gvarokh comms Dougok.
"Hello, Captain," Dougok says amicably.
"It's time to come back to the ship, Dougok. Refueling will be done in fifteen minutes."
"I'm just finishing up registering for a pass and will be back shortly."
"Ok. Gvarokh out." Gvarokh then keeps busy overseeing the crew as they go through their pre-flight checklists.
Location: Merghia Downport
Dougok enters the main concourse. Many people turn their heads in surprise at
seeing him. Dougok sniffs the air. There's a faint whiff of fear and anger
before the HVAC system clears it away. He's at the NW end and looks SE. The
center is open, and Dougok can see that there are two levels. Stores are on this
level with bars and restaurants on the lower level. Midway down on the left
side of the divide is a passageway that leads to the starport exit and
administrative section. Directly opposite on the right side is an entrance to an
Embassy Suites hotel. At the far end of the concourse is the entrance to the
south and east terminals.
Dougok feels the menace, but maintains a positive stance. He sniffs the air and looks about before heading down the left side of the divide. As he heads forward, he takes notice of the types of stores, most are clothing, though to Dougok it's all boring Vilani fashion. Looking down through the open divide he notices that a few people have stopped to stare at him. A couple of them are pointing. The faint aroma coming up from below is that of burnt meat, not exactly palatable to his vargr taste. He flips his tail and heads toward the starport exit.
He enters the a wide tunnel that splits in a Y. Off to the left is the administrative section. To the right is the exit. Dougok walks toward the exit unimpeded.
Signs up ahead in Galanglic and Vilani declare exit options: taxi, intercity shuttle, and train. The taxis and train all go to the nearby capital city of Merghia. Odinaga has no atmosphere so pedestrian traffic is prohibited.
Desiring to get a bit of information without the potential for a riot, Dougok doubles back and heads toward the administrative offices. He passes through an unmanned weapons detector. A woman sits at large desk on the other side. She's flanked by two security personnel who snap to alertness when they see Dougok come through the detector.
"May I help you?" she asks in Galanglic.
Dougok sniffs the air carefully and, after a glance at the security guards, steps up to the desk. He decides to cast subtlety to the wind. "I've noticed that the people of the starport and guards are edgy around Vargr. Has there been an attack recently by corsairs? I have no desire to cause a riot in your peaceful town."
She just stares at Dougok for a few seconds, then replies, "You're kidding me, right? Have you been in cryostasis for the last ten years? Have you not noticed that the Ngath Confederation, along with every other vargr state on the Imperial border, has invaded our subsector and is parked right on our doorstep? Have you not heard that our world has been fighting off corsair attacks for the last three years?"
The guards regrip their weapons—SMGs—although they don't point them at Dougok.
She continues without giving Dougok a chance to answer. "Now if you don't wish to cause a 'riot', may I suggest that you return to your starship with these two gentlemen as your escort."
Dougok wrinkles his muzzle. "Certainly I've heard of the problems your people have had fending off the incursions. Still, not every vargr is a corsair or foe."
She fires back. "That's not a chance most people are willing to take these days. If you'd like to register with Starport Security, I'm sure that they'll give you a big, shiny ID that identifies you as friendly."
"Well, if it's not too much trouble, I'll get one." He looks at the two guards and wags his tail. "And a guard of honor back to my ship would be welcome."
She rolls her eyes. She says, "Security, we have an offworlder who would like to register for an ID." After she listens to the response, she says to Dougok, "Have a seat. They'll be with you shortly."
Dougok looks around for a seat, finds one, and takes it.
Ten minutes later a short, stocky man in a starport security uniform with black hair and a small mustache enters the area from the corridor. He does a double take at the sight of Dougok. He jerks a thumb to Dougok and asks the woman behind the desk, "Him?"
The man sighs.
"And he would like an escort back to his ship when you're done."
"Can't say as I blame him." He turns his attention to Dougok. "Come on, let's go."
Dougok follows him as the man leads his out of the administrative section and over to starport security.
Heads turn as the pair enter the security section. Nobody asks him, but Dougok's escort says loud enough for the onlookers to hear him, "He's here to register as a friendly."
They proceed to the man's desk where both take a seat. He hands Dougok a tablet and says, "Please fill out the form."
Dougok looks over the form. It says, "Vargr Registration Form" across the top. It asks things like name, date of birth, homeworld, ship assignment, ship ownership (if any), a list of worlds the applicant has been to over the past year, five references (preferably human, if not, the registration ID numbers for said vargr), employers for the past ten years, and so on. It looks like it will take some time to fill out, and Dougok isn't sure how honest he should be about his whereabouts. He's not sure how they'll take to his wandering around the Extents or his corsair activity.
He decides to list some of his crewmates from the ship as references since their names are already known to the locals from their customs check. He avoids mentioning any of his corsair activity. Instead, he lists his employment as ship's gunner and steward. He lists a number of planets in the Extents and former Imperial worlds as trying to hide that he's not a tame Imperial vargr would just raise suspicion.
As he fills out the form, he periodically asks for help from the officer as there are Galanglic words he still hasn't learned.
Towards the end of the last page, he gets a comm call from Gvarokh.
The starport security guy looks at Dougok quizzically when he fishes out his comm from a pocket and answers it.
"It's time to come back to the ship, Dougok. Refueling will be done in fifteen minutes."
Dougok ignores his escort and answers, "I'm just finishing up registering for a pass and will be back shortly."
"Ok. Gvarokh out."
A few minutes later Dougok finishes the form and submits it.
"Ok, now we need fingerprints, profile photo, and a DNA sample." The security guard stands up. "Follow me, please."
Dougok follows the man to a small room with two machines on a table and another mounted on the wall. With the first machine, Dougok is instructed to place his paws inside two holes. Once he does, the man hits a button. A bright light emanates from inside the holes.
Afterwards, he's instructed to remove his paws, stand still, and stare at the machine on the wall. He opens up a panel and hits a button on the side. Two arms extend out from the machine and take snapshots of his profile. There's a flash from the front as his picture is taken there as well.
Finally, he's instructed to stick one paw inside the last machine and relax. After doing so, the man presses a button on this machine whereupon Dougok feels a collar close around his paw. He's uncertain here, and as he begins to panic, a pin prick is felt in the pad of one of his fingers. He can't move his paw. Five seconds later, the collar releases his paw, and Dougok quickly withdraws it. He looks at the injured finger and notes a tiny hole where he was pricked.
"Ok, now we'll go to the interview room to review your application." The officer indicates that Dougok should follow him.
Next: A Need to Leave