NPC: Chuck, Kagfak, Uengghae, Major Arsashaammu, Major Elloekothe
Location: Pack of Daggers
The ship emerges from jumpspace and begins to decelerate. Shortly thereafter,
passive scanners alert the crew that they have been scanned. The source has been
pinned down to two Thaksoeghuksakna class frigates (800 tons). One has
altered course to intercept, while the other one is holding steady on its
current course. Sensors put the closing vessel at 137,000 miles and the other
at 240,000 miles.
A message comes in from the closing vessel. "Attention unidentified vessel, this is the Confederation starship Nouguezourrgoetaertir. Maintain current deceleration vector and prepare to be boarded. Any deviation from your present heading will be considered a hostile act, and you will be destroyed."
Elloekothe says reassuringly, "Standard procedure. Just like at Ugarun. We're flying a corsair, and we came in with our transponder off. They saw our jump flash and wanted to make sure we knew who's alpha. And that our cargo hold doesn't hold any stolen Confederation cargo."
Vlad asks, "Should we gear up, just in case? Or would that be inviting wolves to bite?"
Gvarokh replies, "Makes sense, especially if the Confederation is claiming the system so hard. Hopefully, it won't be too long of a delay."
Chuck looks sidelong at Gvarokh. "You're not—"
"No, we're not likely beating two frigates. But since shows of strength are all the rage in this part of space...sure, why not?"
Chuck doesn't look happy with this answer, but doesn't say anything.
Gvarokh adds, "Let's not get aggressive with the turrets, though."
"Roger that," Dougok says over the comm. "Not firing on the frigate."
Elloekothe asks, "Who do you want at the airlock to greet them?"
Gvarokh says, "I want you to. You are more familiar with what they are expecting, and if they need me to make an appearance, it is easy enough to get there." Before she can leave, he adds, "And if they see anyone suited up and ask, just say we are performing drills."
She nods. "Got it."
A ship's boat from the frigate docks with the Pack of Daggers. Five vargr
in combat armor and carrying assault rifles emerge through the airlock.
Elloekothe stands straight, sniffs the air, and says in Gvegh, "Welcome aboard the Pack of Daggers."
The team leader says over his external comm, "Thank you for complying with our boarding request. Are you the captain?"
"No, but he is available should you need him."
The speaker gestures to his team. All but one proceed into the cargo hold. "Take me to your bridge."
She nods and leads him up the stairs to the bridge. Once there, the trooper that didn't speak walks over to navigation and accesses it with his handcomputer.
"Who is the captain?" the leader asks through his external comm.
Gvarokh stands and says, "I am." Striking a pose of strength, he continues, "Captain Gvarokh of the Pack of Daggers."
"Captain, why is your cargo hold empty?"
"We scanned your ship. My captain was surprised to find it empty, so he sent me here to verify and find out why. But your nav logs indicate that you haven't left Confederation space since arriving in it weeks ago. Instead of leaving Kashiin and heading rimward to raid the pinkies, you've turned your ship coreward. Since your ship is undamaged, you're obviously not looking to affect repairs. This is unusual behavior from a corsair. Why haven't you resumed the hunt, Captain? Or have you resumed the hunt where it is forbidden?"
On an internal monitor, Gvarokh notes that three of the troopers have entered engineering and surrounded Slade. While their hands are on their weapons, they aren't pointed at Slade, nor are they threatening him. More like orbiting him at a discrete distance.
Gvarokh says, "We are not hunting Confederation commerce. We are not stupid enough to shit in the den. Unfortunately, we aren't hunting at all. Rather, we are seeking out some contacts that lay farther coreward from here. And even then, any hunting we do will be trailing, not affecting Confederation commerce. All we want to do is refuel and immediately move on."
The speaker is silent for a moment, then asks, "How far coreward?"
"Ghurrllekh," Gvarokh replies without missing a beat.
On the monitors, the troopers down in engineering have broken off their monitoring of the area and left. They can be seen headed towards the airlock. On the bridge, the trooper by the nav console leaves it and departs.
"Thank you for your cooperation, Captain. Be advised that only the mainworld in this system is open to those without business contracts here. Good hunting, Captain."
With that he departs. Shortly thereafter, he and the rest of his boarding party return to their boat and head back to the frigate.
After their departure, Elloekothe gives Gvarokh a nod of approval.
The Pack of Daggers then resumes its descent to the surface.
NPC: Chuck, Kagfak, Uengghae, Elloekothe, Arsashaammu
Location: Pack of Daggers, parked at Gadzun Downport
Pack of Daggers has landed at the Gadzun Downport. There are four other
ships parked at the C-class starport. All are Engzagir class traders (1G
It's an early mid-summer morning, the sky partly cloudy. A male vargr assistant starport warden has come by to collect the docking fee and take the fuel and life support order. Once he's gone, Gvarokh has Lakir and Vlad scout around outside for external security cameras while Vincent handles the network sweep. It doesn't take Vincent very long to present his findings. "The local network here is too primitive to handle video. Really low data transfer rates, probably along the lines of 28.8k. Simple data transmission. Nothing more sophisticated than that. Probably using tape to store the security camera video."
Lakir and Vlad take a bit longer, being on foot. When they return to the ship, they explain that the security cameras are few and far between and lack sophistication.
"The one closest to the ship is just there to monitor people going in and out of the ship," Lakir says. "Same for the cargo door. Lenses don't take much of the ship in at all. Same is said for the ones up and down the line."
Vlad follows. "I spotted a row of hangars. No cameras there at all. If we could get the ship inside one of them, we could work unseen."
Gvarokh nods. "That's where we'll paint. When the refueling truck comes by, we'll ask to 'borrow' a hangar."
While they wait, most of the crew heads outside. Pollution levels are low today, so filter masks are unnecessary. And it's warm. Dougok heads out to scout the other ships, see if there are any that he recognizes. He returns before the fuel truck does; no dice.
After an hour has passed, the refueling truck comes by. A vargr and a human, both male, climb out of the cab after parking the truck.
Gvarokh asks about borrowing the hangar. The human replies that it's available to rent for 100 cr/hour.
"Wonderful!" Gvarokh says in reply, his tail wagging. He pulls out the bankcard. "I'm going to need six hours—"
The human holds up a hand. "I can only handle payment for the fuel. You'll have to either pay a starport warden or the guys over in the hangar."
While the fuel guys get to work, Gvarokh huddles up the group and says. "Ok, refueling is under way. Life support is next. Then we'll move the ship into the hangar, paint it, and get going straight out of the hangar. Once up, we'll try to avoid anyone getting a visual, then jump on to our destination."
Dougok counters, "But shouldn't we wait until dark to exit the hangar?"
Gvarokh answers, "It will take four hours to paint over the logos and another two hours to dry enough to leave without damaging the paint job. It will only start getting dark in about 15 hours and probably take at least another hour to be fully dark. That mean just sitting around for 10 hours, which won't help. We have very little time to formulate and execute a plan when we get to our destination, and I just don't want to waste those 10 hours. Hopefully, they will be meaningless, but we don't know and can't know that.
"To be honest, I wanted to do the whole thing, painting, drying, and leaving, at night, but I just don't want to sacrifice that much time to get it done."
Vlad says, "While we were out before looking at security cameras, I noticed the way the lighting was set up. There really isn't any advantage to be gained while waiting for dark. While the security cameras only work on ships parked at the terminal, the starport lights will make it easy enough for someone to use their eyes if they really want to. There is no 'cover of darkness' while we're here at the starport."
With that, Gvarokh heads over to the offices to rent out a hangar. He explains they need to do a little mechanical and touch-up work, and he would prefer to do it in a hangar that is at least somewhat protected from the elements. He pays for 12 hours.
Refueling and life support refurbishment done. Ship moves to the maintenance hangar.
Painting done and dry.
Gvarokh radios Traffic Control for permission to depart, and it is granted. Pack of Daggers exits the hangar and lifts off.
The ship makes it to safe jump distance without incident and jumps.
Next: Arrival at Newcastle