Picking Up The Aerlay Craver's Cargo

Characters: Gvarokh at first, later joined by Slade
NPC: Chuck Strider
Location: Hangar Bay that contains the Miishakaal

1125.6.4 - 20:30 / 00:30 local time (18 1/2 hr day)
As Gvarokh and Chuck make their way through the cargo hold, Gvarokh says, "We'll go over there first and check out the cargo. See if there are any special handling or storage requirements, etc. Then we'll go back, get our cargo handling equipment and move the cargo between ships."

Chuck: "Ok."

Gvarokh: "Look around while I query their contact. Don't do anything stupid, and stop when told to stop, but I still feel like we have half a story here."

Chuck: "Aye aye."

Heading down the cargo ramp to the hangar bay floor, Gvarokh calls up the Aerlay Craver over his comm. After connecting he says, "Hi, this is Gvarokh, the 1st Officer of the Miishakaal, I understand that you have some cargo for us."

"Yes," the comm officer says, "Cargo Master Lemley is waiting for you."

"Ok, thanks." End of comm call.

As Gvarokh and Chuck make their way across the hangar bay to the port neighbor connecting door, Gvarokh's comm chimes. It's Slade.

"Vincent doesn't need my help. I'm on my way over to help you."

"Acknowledged." End of comm call.

Gvarokh reaches the port neighbor connecting door and hits the "open door" button. You hear the sound of locks releasing and a swish of air as hydraulics begin to slide open the 3 meter by 3 meter door. Aerlay Craver's starboard neighbor connecting door is still closed when your door first begins to open, but seconds later theirs begins to open as well.

It is at this time that Slade joins you.

As the doors open, you see 9 standard shipping containers (1 ton each = 2.381 meters a side) lined up at the door in a row heading into the Aerlay Craver's hangar bay. In the back of the line of containers, you can see a forklift.

There's a tall man (1.85 m) standing at the doorway wearing the now familiar Craver Corporation uniform of blue tailored vacc suit and black ships boots. His hair is crew cut and blonde. He extends a hand to shake and smiles, "Garth Lemley. You must be Gvarokh."

Gvarokh shakes Garth's hand, "Yes I am. I presume this is the cargo."

"Yes, it is," Garth looks past you guys, "You do have a lift right?"

"Yes we do. Hey Chuck go ahead and get our lift."

"Aye, aye."

Gvarokh calls up the invoice, cargo manifest, and customs inspection report on his hand computer. He compares them to the labeling on the containers themselves. Every thing checks out. This is the cargo. He doesn't dare break the customs seal on the containers for fear of being accused of tampering with the cargo.

Chuck arrives with the forklift.

"Everything's in order Chuck. Go ahead and load 'em up."

"Aye, aye."

One by one, Chuck loads the containers into the Miishakaal.

Gvarokh checks each container to make sure the seal identification and the cargo box labeling matches up correctly with what he's got on his hand comp. He also makes sure the boxes are all consistent. He doesn't detect any oddballs.

Slade doesn't notice any irregularities either.

While Chuck loads the containers, Garth says, "Here's the contract" and points his PDA at Gvarokh's hand computer. It instantly appears on Gvarokh's screen. He reads through it after he checks over the containers. Standard contract. No irregularities.

Once Chuck finishes Garth says, "Satisfied with the contract."

Gvarokh: "Yes."

Garth flashes a bank card, "Good, here's the payment." He gets out a reader and slides in his card."

Gvarokh takes out his copy of the ship's card and slides it into the reader. The amount of 9,900 credits appears as the transaction amount, which matches the 110% figure previously quoted. Gvarokh accepts the transaction.

Garth: "Well that does it. On behalf of the captain, thank you once again for taking over this load for us." He shakes Gvarokh's hand.

Gvarokh returns the shake and replies, "Thank you. Good luck on your repairs."

"Thanks!"

Slade and Gvarokh close the port hangar neighbor connection door and make their way back to the Miishakaal and close the cargo hatch.

Once the hatch has closed and locked, Slade tells the others that he is returning to his room for the rest of the evening.

Chuck and Gvarokh walk to the crew lounge and find it empty. Chuck sits down on the couch to watch the holovision while Gvarokh returns to his room to do more research.

Gvarokh Does Some Research

Character: Gvarokh
Location: Gvarokh's stateroom on the Miishakaal

21:05 / 01:05 local time
Once back in his cabin, Gvarokh decides to do a little more investigation on Vilani cargo transport requirements, both to familiarize himself with what the Captain has said and to see if there are any more surprises. He pulls up the files with the Vilani info.

The RVE (Restored Vilani Empire) requires all ships that travel within its borders to be registered. This can only be accomplished in RVE territory though. The procedure is filling out forms and replacing the ship's transponder. The process takes approximately takes 30 days and the ship must remain grounded for the whole time. The registration fee is $5,000 plus $10 for every displacement ton of the ship.

All cargo must be registered. The cargo registration fee is a one time cost of $20 per ton of cargo and is done at the cargo sourceworld. For transborder shipments they do it at the point that the ship enters RVE space.

He also does a library data search for information on Hrun, Pradman, and Olny as they are the next options after Gishinridu.

Hrun comes up C5169C7-D. Rich deposits of iridium were discovered in the early centuries of the Third Imperium. This led to an explosive increase in colonization as mining companies hired miners and support personnel by the thousands. With the seed of civilization planted, service industries sprang up around the mining facilities and thereby became the first cities on the planet.

Iridium is still mined in abundance but Hrun is more known for its mining robot software. The scientists and programmers who produce this software carefully guard their secrets. In fact, the government has sanctioned the existence of a previously secret society, now publicly aware, which enforces this secrecy. All research scientists and programmers who work on robotics must belong to this group, the Mining Robot Software Society (MRSS). The MRSS is even permitted to sentence any of its members who divulge any proprietary research to the public to death.

There is a naval base in the Hrun system. It is located within the system's asteroid belt, located in orbit 0. The naval base is reportedly extensive in size and has a prominent research center which hosts 30,000 personnel. The base is off limits to civilians. As such, the families and administrative personnel are stationed on Hrun.

Although the world is located in the habitable zone, it only has a wisp of an atmosphere. 62% of the surface is covered by ice. During the summer, the heat sublimates the ice into the air, creating large fog banks which obscure visibility for thousands of miles. At twilight the water vapor quickly freezes, creating a stunning shower of ice crystals which sparkles throughout its duration (several minutes). This effect has been named diimeshkha, which is Vilani for "gods' rebuild of the stars."

Olny comes up A569964-F. Olny has been a colony of the Silverring Belt (Lishun 0414) for almost as long as recorded history. Vilani traders from the belt laid claim to the system (and called it Alnii) shortly after setting up belting operations in the Silverring belt. Olny's plant life was renowned by the Vilani for its flavor and its age-inhibiting effects. Unfortunately, the side effect of consuming the plants is sterility. There is no native animal life on the planet.

Imperial scientists identified the Olny plant life as a rich source of natural anagathic-like compounds. A thriving anagathics industry soon developed after this discovery and continues to this day.

The scientists and technicians who manufacture these anagathics have a complex and distinct set of rules and guidelines they must follow. For instance, they must cover their foreheads in public, they must be absolutely honest in their dealings, and tardiness is not tolerated.

Because of the abundance of the natural age inhibiting compounds present on Olny, a youth worship culture has arisen. Society idolizes youth in the extreme. All tribal property is for the consumption of the members and their pleasure. Cruelty toward non-tribe members is not uncommon.

Local government follows a twin-ruler concept for the enforcement of law and the judgment of offenders. The population as a whole makes the laws and each citizen must spend at least an hour a day engaged in legislative activities.

Pradman comes up B6A587A-B. Pradman was first colonized during the Rule of Man, circa -2200, as the site of a terraforming experiment. Over the next few centuries, the atmosphere improved to the point where it was breathable without any artificial means. Thousands of people immigrated to the newly terraformed world.

The Long Night revealed that this new atmosphere was not self-sustaining. Over the next 1700 years, the atmosphere slowly reverted back to its pre-terraformed state. However, Scouts from the Third Imperium discovered a thriving low tech culture. The locals had managed to develop a sophisticated series of chemical and physical ritual protections from the hostile environment. The protections were successful enough to enable the humans to flourish on the world.

The locals still use the ancient folk techniques to this day. The effects are successful enough that local humans can live unprotected for years at a time in the natural environment before more treatments are necessary. Imperial scientists have run computer simulations that show in another 5,000 - 8,000 years the locals will have become permanently changed and thereby classifiable as a new minor human race.

Pradman is a balkanized world with two major nations: Pradman and Wamic. Wamic was originally a colony of convicted criminals centuries ago, but has only recently been recognized as a true sovereign nation by Pradman. Border disputes and warfare still happen on occasion. As such, offworlders are cautioned that the planet should be considered an amber zone.

You decide that Hrun is the best destination route-wise and social-wise. It looks to the be safest too, despite the naval base. You call up a map of the Hrun solar system. You verify that the asteroid belt is in orbit 0 while Hrun itself is in orbit 1. That means that there's no astrographic reason for the Vilani navy to impede progress to the mainworld. You check to see what sorts of naval interference visitors can expect. Although records regarding naval policies in system end with the secession of the RVE 5 years ago, there's nothing in the public record to indicate there ever was any interference on the part of the Navy. Hrun is a high population world that handles a fair amount of interstellar traffic despite its C starport. The Navy only allowed vessels with permits to enter the belt and only in specific regions of the belt. Other than that the Navy did not impede starship traffic. If things have changed since then, word has not made it back to the Imperium.

News reports drop off in frequency after the secession of Hrun and other Vilani worlds from the Imperium. There are two reports of Imperial privateering raids and eight reports of corsair attacks for the past year. In all cases, invaders fled once the local naval base dispatched a squadron to intercept them. There is a report of increased patrols of the two gas giants. There are articles that explain how Hrun has adapted economically since the secession (the hunt for new markets for manufacturers and new sources of food for the agriculture importers). There's an anonymous editorial calling for an end to the MRSS' "inhumane punishments" and "fascist control" over mining industry software workers.

That's the extent of news. Unlike worlds in the immediate vicinity, Hrun appears to have a lack of xenophobia.

You have had a long enough day and have read too much. Your eyes protest fatigue. You surrender to the will of your body and go to bed. You fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.

NEXT: Morning Briefing