GM'd by Ewan Quibell
Characters: Gvarokh, Vlad, Simrii
Location: Miishakaal bridge and cargo hold, Gishinridu Highport
1125.7.6 Standard Imperial time: 08:25, Standard Vland time: 08:23, Local time: 06:45
Gvarokh is on the bridge checking over the ship's systems when he's greeted with an incoming comms call. It's a middle aged Vilani with a spacer's hair cut and stubble. "Fuel delivery." Gvarokh passes him through to Vincent.
The look on the man's face seems to show that it's going to be a long day as he says "Fuel Delivery" to Vincent.
Gvarokh hears Vincent reply, "Right this way," as he pulls up the schematic showing the gentleman to the refuelling tank, before the comm cuts out.
Two minutes later another comm call comes in. This time it's a man in a Naval uniform with commander's insignia showing. "Miishakaal? I have an incomprehensible message here requesting that I call you about delivery of some pharmaceuticals," He looks at a display to the side of the comm for a second and continues, "but I've never heard of your ship, so I'm a bit confused. Would you care to explain?"
"Sure. While at the port on Larkarda, a ship in the berth next to us asked us to carry their freight for them as they were having mechanical difficulties. The name of that ship was the Aerlay Craver.
"I am transmitting over the relevant paperwork." At that Gvarokh sends over the relevant data showing the transfer, origin ship, and specified destination. "So, when do you want to pick up your delivery?"
The guy in the Naval uniform looks over the paperwork that Gvarokh just sent him and ponders for a moment. His facial expression changes but vargr are crap at reading human expressions so Gvarokh has no idea what it means. He says, "Just a moment please," as he puts Gvarokh on hold. A video of a star rising quickly over frozen mountains accompanied by some classic Vilani music, that sounds boring, comes on the comm. About three minutes go by before he comes back on the comm again.
"Everything looks in order. I do hope Captain McKibben gets over his mechanical problems. I'll send over a cutter to take delivery. I see you're berthed starboard side, so port side cargo hatch then."
"OK. What is your ETA?"
Gvarokh sees the Commander insignia as the guy on the other end of the comm moves in his seat slightly. "Zero. It won't be me." Gvarokh wonders if this was an attempt at humor on the man's part. "I'll rouse them out of morning drinks, say pre-flight in 10 minutes so ETA in say 15 to 20 is that ok for you?"
"Works for me."
"Good. It's been a pleasure." The Commander smiles as he closes the connection.
Gvarokh then calls Vlad and Siimri on the internal comm to let them know the timetable for the arrival and unloading.
"Speak!" barks Vlad at the comm.
Gvarokh replies, "Guys, the naval factor is sending over a cutter to pick up their nine dtons. They should be here in 15 to 20 minutes, so be suited up and ready for them before the 15 minutes. Please be careful. I still don't like the 'smell' of this cargo."
"Will do!" answers Vlad.
Simrii nods, "I don't much like the smell of anything lately, bloody civil war. Now there's an oxymoron if there ever was one, I mean who ever heard of a civil war?" He grins a little, "We'll be careful."
Vlad and Simrii suits up, Simrii puts on a sidearm and heads down to the cargo hold to make sure everything is ready.
10 minutes later upon entering the cargo hold they secure the all iris hatches and start the decompression. The sound of the klaxon slowly lessens as the air is sucked out of the hold, though the flashing lights never stop.
Once the cargo hold is in vacuum the pressure settings on the cargo door allow it to be opened, and approximately 15 minutes after getting the call the cargo door is open to space.
The background view beyond the next berthing arms changes as the station slowly rotates, but what really catches their eyes is the SEH class light cruiser that's docking. It's been a while since they've seen something that big, and not only does it dwarf them, it makes the incoming cutter seem positively minute.
The cutter comes tearing towards your cargo door. Just as Vlad and Simrii think it might not slow down in time, its thrusters fire, spinning the cutter around so that its cargo hatch is in line with theirs.
As the cutter comes to a stop in relation to you, the cargo door opens to reveal an obviously Vargr vacc suit clad sophant. He looks you both up and down, stopping for a moment on Simrii's sidearm. It looks like he goes into small convulsions as his body shakes and his head goes up and bobs a little. As the suit frequencies converge you hear snarling, barking and a slight screeching that passes for a Vargr laugh. After about 20 seconds the Vargr in the cutter controls himself enough to say, "Liinard (chuckle) come and supervise (chuckle) the cargo transfer."
"Yes, sergeant," is the only reply as another figure emerges from the cutter. This human is wearing marine battledress and is carrying a man portable fusion gun, attached to his shoulder. The marine effortlessly glides into a position in space just forward of the two cargo hatches so he has a good view of both the hatches and cargo holds.
The laughter stops after a few more seconds and the Vargr chuckles, "I believe you have some cargo for us?"
Simrii smiles without showing his teeth, "Well I'm glad I could make your day a little brighter."
He looks at the marine in battle dress and the fusion rifle then looks at Vlad. "Compensating for something."
The sergeant laughs again loudly and this time has to hold onto the side of the cutter to stop himself from drifting away. While the vargr laughter is fine for Vlad and Gvarokh (although you couldn't get a word in through the volume if you tried), it gets quickly grating for Simrii, and it's all he can do not to cut the external connection.
Breathing quite deeply and panting a little with the effort of laughing the sergeant says, "Civilian pinkies have the best sense of humour," and obviously addressing Vlad says, "It must be a laugh a minute on your shhhhip."
His voice changes tone somewhat. Simrii just notices the change, while to Vlad and Gvarokh the change in speech patterns is a distinct 'time for action'. "9 tons standard medical drug from Carver. Send over the details and I'll check everything is in order as you two deliver the cargo. Right. Let's get to it or do you need a haaaaaand?"
Vlad replies in a humorous voice, "Only if we can pile everything on top of that two-legged tank you have standing over there!"
Vlad and Gvarokh hear the subtleties of the sergeant's charisma come across in the question. He isn't intending the question as an insult, but it's obvious to both of them that if they weren't of a lower charisma than the sergeant it would be one.
"Na, Private Liinard wouldn't appreciate it," replies the sergeant.
The sergeant receives the manifest and directs Simrii and Vlad to load the cargo into the cutter. The work is hard and slow, and as they expect, the marines don't offer any help. Moving in Zero G is hard at the best of times but compensating for the momentum of the cargo is troublesome. The cargo lifers are only a little use in this environment and it takes a while.
Vlad and Simrii get down to the task in hand with the Marine watching over them. They find that the time is in fact passing quite quickly. It seems that they both anticipate the other's actions well and cargo loading and moving proceed at quite a good pace. After only 40 minutes, they have the cargo loaded into the cutter, far quicker than they thought it would take.
As they finish, the Vargr notes the particulars on his hand comp. He goes through the manifest one last time, just to make sure, before he lifts his head and says "Right, not bad, not bad, you could both do with a bit of Marine Zero-G training, but for a couple of ciiivvvvies." He leaves the sentence hanging.
"Private Liinard stand down."
The Battledressed Marine maneuvers himself back into the cutter with a "Yes, Sergeant."
The Vargr presses a couple of buttons on his comp and says "Cargo is acceptable, and signed fffor." A cargo acceptance certificate appears on the cargo bay terminal and simultaneously on the bridge. "Private Djghaarr we are done here."
As the cargo bay doors close, Vlad calls up to the bridge, "All set down here. You got anything else for us Gvarrrrokh?"
"No. Good job, guys. I'll never understand why they think being jerks is a required part of their job. There's nothing on the way so go ahead and close up and come on back in."
Vlad turns to Simrii and joyfully says, "Time for a snack!"
Simrii agrees, "Yeah. Sounds like a good idea."
The cargo bay has repressurized, enabling Vlad and Simrii to open the door to the crew lounge. As they do so, the internal communicator of their vacc suits hum slightly. Looking into the HUD in their helmets shows an alarm going off in Engineering.
Next: "Slade and Lakir Get a Late Breakfast" or continue to follow Vlad and Simrii with "Vincent Oversees a Fuel Purification Plant Malfunction.