Characters: Lakir & Simrii
Location: Larkarda Starport
1125.6.5 - 08:30 / 12:30 local time (18 1/2 hr day)
After getting all his gear on, Lakir exits the ship and enters the starport terminal. Suddenly he's tapped on the shoulder. He whirls around and there's Simrii.
"Hey Lakir, captain's got me looking into this transponder thing. I have to admit I don't know squat about transponders. What are you up to today? Maybe we can combine our efforts."
Lakir replies, "Gotta go see Jum to talk to him about Mersshon. See if he's recruited anyone else to run errands for him."
"Great. Mind if I tag along."
"Sure, but don't sneak up on me anymore. I'm a little jumpy. I'd hate to have killed you by mistake."
Simrii looks down and notices Lakir's gauss pistol pointed at his midsection.
"Yeah sure no problem." He attempts to laugh it off.
You walk in silence to Jum's bar, The Bridge, as the captain instructed Lakir to do. You head up to the bar and ask the bartender for Jum.
"Sorry, Jum's next shift doesn't start until 14:00."
Glancing at the clocks on the wall, you notice the Imperial one says 8:50 while the local one says 12:50. Hopefully the bartender means 14:00 local time.
Lakir replies, "No problem, we'll be back in a bit."
The two of you leave the bar. Lakir says, "I knew there was something I forgot to get last night. Gotta go to Perma Pahehn Pistols. We'll head back to see Jum once I wrap it up, else you can hang here and wait. Favour for the Cap'n."
Simrii grins, "Making sure the boss is happy, good man. I'll have to learn that skill one day I suppose. I'll go. What did you forget to get?"
You start walking towards the pedestrian corridor. Lakir answers, "Going to see if I can't get the Cap'n some HE or HEAP for her body pistol. She seems dead set on going into the RVE, she'll probably need it."
Simrii nods, "Body pistols are a pretty sad excuse for a weapon. I mean maybe if you're intending to walk up and squeeze off ten rounds into someone standing next to you in an elevator." He grins a little, "But she is the boss and it's really her call."
He pauses for a bit before continuing, "Do you know much about these transponders? Black box tech to me, I heard a rumor that the Imps just shoot on sight anyone not running one. I guess the theory is anyone not running one is probably up to something that they shouldn't be. I know the Imp's warships have ones they can turn off and on with the flip of a switch, makes them harder to find in the darkness."
"Yah. Used them on a regular basis for insertions in V space. Don't know much about them, cept they work, are high tech, and you're dead if you're a civ and you get caught with one"
The two of them start walking down the familiar path of the pedestrian corridor.
09:45 / 13:45 local time
NPC: Ronald Staino
Location: Oriole City
They arrive at Perma Pahehn Pistols and proceed inside. The place is mostly empty. About 4 other guys are in the store milling about. The guy who waited on you last night, Ronald Staino, is working behind the counter. He recognizes you. "Hey, welcome back guys. Didn't expect to see you back so soon."
Lakir replies, "Yah. We got a generous employer, and I figured I should treat them right. Looking for some additional specialty rounds, for a different system, and maybe a lead on some esoteric ship components, or at least someone who could steer us in the right direction. Figured you might be able to at least point me in the right direction...."
Simrii interjects, "Well that and we ran out of ammo already. I mean who knew you could put that many bullets in a starship and it'd still work." Simrii grins.
Staino gives Simrii and odd look and then replies to Lakir, "Ok what rounds for what gun? As for ship components, I don't deal in ship weapons. Too big for me."
"10mm rounds for a Snub Pistol, regular. Whatcha got in the way of selection? I'm particularly interested in HE or HEAP, but a nice selection of gas or tranq wouldn't be amiss either."
"Let me check," he consults his PDA for inventory.
Lakir continues, "As to the ship components, I didn't think you would deal, but can you steer us in the direction of someone who does?"
"Yeah, I've got all those. How much you looking for?"
"Cool. Depending on your price, I'll take a 100 HE, a 100 HEAP 50 Tranq, and what's your gas mix? I'd be lookin' for a 100 non-lethal, and maybe 50 lethal?"
"100 HE will run you 90 bucks. 100 HEAP will run you 150. 50 Tranq will run you 50. 100 Knockout gas rounds will run you 200. 50 lethal will run you 75. It's a special Larkardan blend of sulfur dioxide." He smiles for a couple of seconds.
Lakir replies, "No problem. I'll take it all." He then asks, "I'm also looking for a decent fighting blade.You got some good steel?"
"Better. I've got titanium."
"About 30 cm? If it feels right, I'll take it."
Staino opens a drawer and pulls out a knife with a 30 cm blade. "Like this?" He lays it on the counter for Lakir to try.
Lakir picks up the blade. It feels a little lighter than he expected. He likes it though. "I'll take it."
"Ok, that'll be 815 credits."
"No problem, but for that price you better toss in a customizable carrying rig."
Staino just stares for a couple of seconds. Then he says, "Ok."
Lakir pays the man.
"Thanks, the ammo will be out in a minute."
Simrii speaks up, "I could use another laser sight and a small blade of some kind. You know bayonet or similar size."
Staino asks, "Bayonet? For which rifle?"
Simrii grins, "No not a bayonet something like a bayonet, like what you're selling to Lakir there. Dark metal finish, and balanced if you have it."
Simrii nods, "Dandy."
"Check your friend's out. I'll have yours brought in from the back."
Simrii picks up Lakir's blade. The weight feels good. You're going to like having one.
After Simrii puts down the knife, "I'd also like to buy 3 shotguns, and 100 rounds of ball 100 rounds of flechette."
"You mean buckshot?"
Simrii nods again, "Aye, solid slug and buckshot. One hundred of each."
"I'd also like to get a laser sight for a Ma-57 pistol and a flashlight mount for a Ma-90 smg."
"All that stuff is gonna cost you $1275."
Simrii pays the man.
While you wait for your order to be brought up front, Staino speaks up, "Yeah. Esteban Rohrbach. Starship Solutions. You can find them about a mile northeast of here in the industrial sector near the dome wall. Tell him Staino sent you."
"Thanks for the starship lead."
Your stuff is brought up front. Lakir's stuff fits in a large bag while Simrii's stuff goes into a large cloth sack. Both bags are heavy.
Lakir turns to Simrii, "If you're buyin' all that kit, you better leave it here for pick up on your way back from Starship Solutions, otherwise you're not likely to make it through the door!"
Once you guys are outside of the gun shop, Simrii offers, "I can head to Starship Solutions if you want Lakir, got a better line on that part than we had before."
"Ok. Lets do a comm check through the ship first, then call me before you go in. I'll let you know how it goes with Jum."
Lakir whips out his comm, "Lakir calling Captain Shiraamer, over."
"Shiraamer here. Go ahead Lakir."
"Hey Cap'n. Got a line on a ship's component supplier that might be able to help kit the ship out. Only prob is Simrii might not be the best to exploit it. The technical end of the deal might be facilitated if Mr. Gvarokh or Mr. Trask could accompany him. I'm heading back to Jum's place to complete my tasking."
Simrii adds, "Ya, basically if you can't point it, shoot it, drive it or steal it..." Simrii shrugs, "A wise man always admits to his short comings."
To which Lakir adds, "Always know your limitations; it keeps you and your associates alive for the long haul..."
After a pause, Shiraamer, who seems distracted, says, "I'll send Gvarokh or Trask over to meet you at Jum's. Gvarokh was just heading out anyway, maybe I can still catch him. Keep him informed. Our freight just showed up so I'll be with Miisha taking care of that. Shiraamer out."
After the rather abrupt end to the comm call, Lakir says to Simrii, "OK, Cap'n says she'll send Mr. Gvarokh to collect you at Jum's. Lets catch a cab back to his bar, and maybe I can wrap up my tasking, and head over to Starship Solutions with you two."
Lakir whips out his PDA and summons an Oriole City Taxi to his location. One shows up in 3 minutes. It isn't more than an enclosed air raft. Once it lands, the curbside door opens. You climb inside. The taxibot asks you for your destination.
Lakir answers, "Starport. A bar named The Bridge."
"Thank you," it replies in monotone.
The taxi lifts up from the ground and starts heading towards the starport.
Location: The Bridge, a bar at the Larkarda Starport
NPC: Jum Tixem
The taxi lands. The taxibot says, "The Bridge is located 1 block due south of here. Please insert bankcard to pay for your fare."
The fare is $5. Lakir pays the bot. The curbside door opens and the two of them get out. They walk to The Bridge. As soon as they walk inside they see that Jum is back working the bar. He sees them and waves. They go over to the bar, sitting as far apart from the others as possible. The place is as crowded as it was yesterday.
Jum comes over, "Gentlemen, what can I do for you?"
Lakir replies, "Two coffee and fries, and a moment of your time, when right."
Jum raises one eyebrow, "Two coffees and fries coming up."
He returns in a couple of minutes with the coffee and fries, "Here you go gentlemen. You have my undivided attention. What is it you want to talk to me about?"
"This fellow we talked to last night, Mersshon, has he frequented your establishment on a regular basis, perhaps seeking other starship crews?"
"Like I told you yesterday, he's been in my bar a couple of times. Has he talked to other spacers? I recall him talking to some people, but I don't know who or about what. Yesterday was the first time he ever talked to me so I don't know if he was looking for other crews on his previous visits."
The look on Jum's face, and the tone of his voice, convinces Lakir that he's telling the truth.
"Being a Vilani myself, I am looking to forward a message to my home world, through Vilani space, and am looking for a vessel cleared for ops, complete with the Vilani required transponder. Could you perhaps direct me to the crew of such a vessel?"
Jum laughs out loud but is ignored by the bar. The big guy is known to appreciate a good joke. "Mr. Zalikhuluskaki, as a bartender I make it a point to know my customers and the ships they come from. For instance, I was surprised Mr. Kugiilii didn't request a tea, though the kettle is on the stove," he gestures in the direction of the stove and there is indeed a tea kettle on it. "But I don't second guess them if they put in an order that contradicts their usual tastes. However, knowing what transponders they carry around with them in their ships is beyond my expertise." He smiles large.
He turns a bit conspiratorial, "Perhaps it has been too long since you've been to Larkarda Mr. Zalikhuluskaki. No one out here cares anymore whose side you're on, so long as you're not a damned pirate. The Emperor no longer pays any attention to us so why should we begrudge our neighbors if they don't begrudge us." He throws his arms up in a very large shrug. "Of course, we don't make it a point to rub the Emperor's nose in it.
"But to answer your question in another way, I know that there have been spacers in here who go back and forth between here and Vilani space. That lost ship I told you about yesterday, the Always Monday, I recall their chief engineer swooning about some woman he met on Olny. She sounded like a vapid skank to me but," he shrugs again, "love is often deaf, dumb, and blind. Anyway, Olny is right on the vilani side of the border, 3 parsecs from here.
"Two other ships I recall journeying back and forth across the border were the Wrinkle Science and the Konica Tonica. Fortunately, I haven't heard of them meeting a tragic end. And I hope I never do."
"Perchance, have you seen members of the Science or Tonica about recently? And you wouldn't av' happen'd to have overheard the name of that 'woman from Olny', would ya?"
"No, I can't remember the tart's name. I'm not sure that he ever told me. As for the crews of the other two ships I haven't seen them in about a month. If you'd like, you can leave your message with me, encrypted on holocrystal of course, and I'd be happy to ask them to deliver it for you."
"Kind of you, but if they haven't been through for that long, I'll see if I can't forward it from closer in to the border."
"The offer is still good should you change your mind. Anything else?"
"Have you heard of any other ships gone missing recently?"
"Not since yesterday."
"It seems I was a bit preoccupied yesterday, and had a hard time following the story. Would you mind hitting the high points for me again?"
Jum smiles, "It was Mr. Kugiilii who I discussed the matter with. I figured he would've told you. Anyway, all I could recall at the time was the Always Monday. I suggested he look the others up on InfoNet. I guess he didn't." He shoots a glance over at Simrii. "Well, no matter. I checked last night. The other lost ships were Space Ant, Sproan Express, Purple Prozac, and Konrad's Karrier. All of them have been through here in the last year or so. I didn't know these as well as the Always Monday, but I still feel the loss nonetheless."
"Your depth of local knowledge is appreciated, as always. On a side note, in the never ending quest to outfit our ship with the latest gear, we have been directed to a distributor of starship wares by the name of Starship Solutions. Can you pass on any advice for dealing with these particular brokers?"
"Haven't heard anything bad about them. I've overheard spacers recommend them to each other but I've never dealt with them."
"Thank you for your time Jum, always a pleasure. We're expecting Mr. Gvarokh shortly, and if you could point him our way, we'll retire to the back booth. Oh, and another coffee and fries for myself, please. Simrii?"
"I won't have to. There he is." Jum gestures over Lakir's left shoulder to the door. Sure enough, Gvarokh and Slade are there. Jum waves and they come over. "Would you like those fries to go?"
"A moment." Lakir pulls out his PDA and looks up Starship Solutions. He checks for a closing time and estimated travel time via taxibot. He discovers that they're open round the clock and that it will take 20 minutes to get there. He then answers Jum, "No that's fine. I think misters Gvarokh and Slade will have something first. We'll take the booth in the back, at least until I finish my fries."
Lakir then nods towards the back of the bar as he grabs his fries and coffee. Simrii acknowledges Gvarokh and Slade with a nod and follows Lakir carrying his coffee. Gvarokh and Slade follow them.
Once you're all seated, Gvarokh says to Lakir, "The captain said that you something to report regarding something for the ship."
"Ya. Got a line on a shop that might be able to set us up with that transponder the Cap'n figured get us through Vilani space in one piece. Problem is, Simrii or I don't know jack about the kit, and need someone to ID it as the real deal. I can probably get us close, but one of you is going to have to confirm the deal. I also don't have a handle on what the Cap'n wants to fork over for the kit, and I'll need to know, going in. Place is called Starship solutions, and seems to have a good rep, according to Jum. Place is about 20 mikes away, and open round the clock, so we got time. I also got some info to pass on to the Cap'n, maybe refine Vinny's net search a bit."
Gvarokh nods at Lakir's message, and say, "I agree. Let's get to the ship and take a look at the kit. If anyone can tell whether it will work, Slade is the person."
Lakir announces, "Well guys, my fries are gone, so I'm thinking we'll be out of here." He walks to the bar and pays Jum, c/w 20% tip. The rest of you follow him.
"Thank you Mr. Zalikhuluskaki."
"Jum, the boys and I are off for a bit, but we'll be back later today. Can you hold this package for me until I'm back? Don't feel like lugging it around town."
"Me too," Simrii hands his over too.
"Very well gentlemen."
Lakir adds, "If Cap'n Shiraamer drops in before I'm back, you can pass it off to her."
"Understood," Jum replies.
The four guys leave the bar and walk through the pedestrian street to the next block where vehicular traffic is allowed. They wave down a taxi and climb inside. There's enough seating for the four of them to fit comfortably.
The taxibot asks for a destination. Lakir replies, "Oriole City. Starship Solutions." The taxibot acknowledges the destination and takes off into traffic.
Lakir decides to give the captain a voicemail update, "Miishakaal, this is Lakir, message for Captain Shiraamer begins: 'Cap'n, Simrii and I have hooked up with Gvarokh and Slade. We'll be proceeding to a shop called Starship Solutions momentarily. Looks like they may have that component you're looking for. If Vinny's running that check for you, word has it that the Space Ant, Sproan Express, Purple Prozac, Konrad's Karrier and Always Monday have been lost in the last year. Seems the Always Monday may have been nailed around the Olny system. Jum knows of two ships that frequent Vilani space, the Wrinkle Science and the Konica Tonica. Lakir out.'"
NEXT: On To Starship Solutions