Characters: Simrii, Lakir, & Vladgorkfeg
1125.6.4 - 19:30 / 18:00 local time (18 1/2 hr day)
The three amigos leave Perma Pahehn Pistols and start walking back to the starport.
20:15 / 00:15 local time
They're just about back to the starport, when they notice a cop at the end of the pedestrian tunnel. He's dressed in combat armor but the helmet visor is up. He looks like he has an ACR slung over his shoulder and has a SMG at hand. He's not facing in their direction. He seems to be looking in the direction of the starport.
Simrii marches on past with a jaunty step and his shopping bags. He smiles and motions like he's tipping a hat, "Evening officer, lovely night isn't it?" Lakir and Vladgorkfeg tag along behind him.
The officer doesn't reply. He does watch Simrii go by with a look that seems to say, "Smart ass. It's a dome." But he doesn't interfere with Simrii's progress nor does he say anything.
The three get about halfway through the starport when they notice something odd. An air raft van is parked in the middle of the pedestrian street. It has a dish about half a meter in diameter rotating around on top. The van bears markings that say Oriole City C.T.U. Three policemen, dressed like the one they saw at the end of the pedestrian tunnel stand outside of the vehicle. Two are talking by themselves and appear to be smiling. The third, a woman, is talking to an old, well-dressed woman. The old woman looks worried and the female officer appears to be trying to calm her.
As they walk past they hear the female officer say to the old woman, "...nothing to worry about ma'am. We've been alerted to a hacker somewhere in the starport. We're just trying to pinpoint his location..."
They keep walking past the cops and their van. When Lakir feels they're out of earshot, he fires up his comm to contact the ship. Noticing this, Vlad and Simrii tune in with their commdots. In moments, he gets the captain on the line.
"Shiraamer here Lakir. You've just caught us catching a bite to eat. Have anything to report?"
"Hey Cap'n. Vlad, Simrii and I are coming through the starport gate, heading back to the ship. Just wanted to make sure Vincent wasn't doing anything naughty. I know how he sometimes gets when he's curious."
With a chuckle in her voice, she replies. "Vincent is all safe and snug. But what about you three? Vincent is only 1. There's 3 of you to get into things. Coming back now or is there other stuff you were planning on doing?"
Simrii smiles and shakes his head, "Are you sure about Vincent?" He looks about to make sure there's no police within earshot, "The cops are going ape-shit down here looking for someone near the port who's hacking the net."
Shiraamer gives a big sigh, "One moment please, we are experiencing technical difficulty." She puts Simrii on hold.
After half a minute, Shiraamer takes them off hold. "Ahhh, seems I have volume again. What's that? We'll check on wayward son. Keep your ears and eyes peeled for anything else." And the connection is terminated.
After the call to the captain has ended, the three of them decide to sit somewhere and inconspicuously watch the cops. They walk into a casual restaurant on their right and maneuver their way to a table that sits "outside" the restaurant but is enclosed within their knee-high gated property. Vladgorkfeg sits with his back to the cops while Lakir and Simrii sit next to one another facing the cops. They store their shopping bags underneath the table between their legs.
A large, unattractive waitress comes over to take their order. Simrii orders a tea. Lakir orders coffee and fries. Vlad orders a Larkarda Lager. She returns with their drinks while they sit and wait. A few minutes later she brings Lakir's fries.
21:30 / 01:30 local
An hour goes by and everyone has finished their beverages and the fries. The police are still there. The waitress comes back and asks if they want another round. They answer yes as it will help to keep up appearances.
At this point they can't help but hear some of the conversation at the table next to them (Lakir and Simrii's left). Two women are having dinner. One woman's voice has grown a little louder and looser, perhaps from drinking. She's not drunk, just relaxed enough not to care if her conversation is overheard.
She has a posh Core accent which one would associate with the nobility. She's slender, probably about 50 kilos. She's average height and average looking, olive skin with a terran asian complexion. She's wearing a tailored naval issue vacc suit with sunburst. Black hair in a spacers crew cut.
Her dinner companion has a similar accent and physical appearance but her features are more rounded and is perhaps a few years older. She's smartly dressed in a women's business suit, the kind executives would wear.
They decide to listen as inconspicuously as possible. Vlad's superior hearing enables him to pick up the conversation effortlessly. Lakir's previous career makes his listening efforts go without notice. Simrii does his best. He even holds up a fake conversation to maintain the group's cover.
"I don't know, I mean really what can we haul out of here and to where? This place is a resource pit for spares coming in and heaven forbid something major goes wrong, I would want to be here less than aboard the ship that's for sure. Vargr, Vilani, Solomani, Humaniti, it's all trouble now, we're all on the same sinking ship and no one's got the brains to realize it's going down."
And this is what they pick up:
Navy Girl (outraged): "I can't believe the lies the news media are trying to spread about the Vilani!"
Companion: "What do you mean?"
NG: "The news media says that the Vilani are more interested in protecting themselves from the vargr than they are in expanding their borders. It's all lies!"
Comp: "But there haven't been any fleet actions between the Vilani and the Imperium in years."
NG: "Those clever bastards are using subterfuge. They're nibbling a little here and a little there, like rats attacking a feed barn."
Comp (confused): "Huh?"
NG (waves her arms dismissing her own analogy): "It's like this. There's a pilot in my squadron. He told me that before he was transferred to Larkarda, he fought vilani raiders in vargr built ships over at Sardia."
Comp: "What was he doing over there? That's vilani territory."
NG: "He was on a raid."
Comp: "A raid?"
NG (almost indignant): "Yeah, it's only right that the defenses of the Emperor's enemies be probed. As soon as that traitor Dulinor is crushed, the Emperor will vanquish the vilani traitors and vargr invaders."
Comp (conspiratorially, with a smile): "So are you sleeping with this pilot?"
NG (jaw drops in mock surprise): "I am not sleeping with him."
Comp (all gossip now): "Oh yes you are. What's his name? Does he belong to a good house?"
At this point, the conversation has devolved into gossip and other fluff to make their stomachs turn. They ignore the rest and resume their vigil on the cops.
22:40 / 02:40 local
The two women have just left. The waitress asks the guys if they need anything else. Another round of beverages is ordered.
23:15 / 03:15 local
The cops pack up shop, climb in the van, and slowly leave the area. Their lack of haste would seem to indicate that they didn't find who they were looking for.
The group flags down the waitress and settle their tab.
Lakir grabs the check and swipes his card, "This one's on me guys."
Lakir notes that the bill has come to $34. He adds 10% for a tip for a grand total of $37.40.
They walk out of the restaurant, turn right, and start walking back to the ship. The captain's morning briefing is less than 8 hours from now. They all agree that now would be a good time to head back to the ship to catch some sleep.
23:30 / 03:30 local
The walk back to the ship goes without incident. Ship security lets them on board without a fuss. No one is in the crew lounge. They decide to take their shopping bags back to their cabins. They feel that they can worry about proper stowing of their contents tomorrow.
NEXT: Morning Briefing