Gvarokh Detects A Musk
Shiraamer Meets With Gvarokh
Slade Meets With Gvarokh First Thing in the Morning
Gvarokh Investigates Slade's Suspicions
The Shotgun Test
Dinner - Larkarda-Gishinridu Jump Day 5
Gvarokh Emails the Captain 2
Evaluation of New FPP Parts
Searching Through The Debris (Bridge Only)
The Revival of Low Berthed Passengers
Leave A Message
Interview with Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha
NPC: Jum the bartender
Location: The Bridge, a bar at the Larkarda Starport (Lishun 0712)
1125.6.4 - 15:30 / 14:00 local time (18 1/2 hr day)
While you're sitting down at the table enjoying your Larkarda Lager, you detect a faint musk. It smells like a human female who's aroused. Considering the flirtations of the brown nosing human Chuck, you aren't totally surprised. Apparently the captain is flattered by his advances.
But you're not the only one to pick up on this scent. Vladgorkfeg smells it too and he lets you know that he does with an exaggerated sniff of the air ("Do you smell that?"). Vlad whines a little, lets his tongue hang out a little, nods his head towards Chuck and looks back at the captain ("He wants to mate with her."). Vlad then follows it up with a quiet growl and a flash of teeth in the direction of Chuck ("Or Chuck is challenging your authority.").
None of the others seem to notice this, as they are absorbed in Chuck's overwhelming sexual advances towards the captain, and because it isn't spoken. This isn't Gvegh, it's primitive vargr "body language".
You reply with a quiet growl in Chuck's direction ("I don't trust him.") and follow it up with a whine and a nod in the captain's direction ("I trust her.").
Vlad nods quickly but imperceptibly ("Ok").
Characters: Shiraamer and Gvarokh
Location: The captain's quarters on the Miishakaal
1125.7.2 - 21:00 4th Day of Larkarda - Gishinridu Jump
Shiraamer is unable to focus on her book after her meeting with Slade. She keeps playing over in her mind her conversation with Slade, the events on Larkarda, and Simrii's behavior since coming on board. She can't pinpoint anything suspicious that Simrii has done, however she's inclined to be paranoid. She's got a ship and several lives depending on her to figure out what the truth of the matter is.
She drains her coffee with a sigh and heads to the galley for a fresh cup. By chance, Gvarokh is there getting a glass of water.
Although no one else is present, Shiraamer discreetly gives him their sign they have developed over the years that means 'must talk to you asap'. They walk back to her quarters.
Once seated at her meeting table, she begins to relate to Gvarokh Slade's observations.
After Gvarokh has had a chance to mull it over, Shiraamer says, "I don't normally advocate spying on crew members but this mission has us all a bit jumpy. I trust your opinions Gvarokh. What's your opinion on this?"
Gvarokh shakes his head slowly. He thinks for a little while, then says, "You know, I figured that with no passengers, we should be past these types of concerns. Well, I would say that, even though it is probably nothing, we do probably need to keep and eye on him. If it's any consolation, he hasn't been hovering around the bridge. We will probably want to make sure we have him assigned to a specific task during breakout. Is there something 'engineering' Slade can have him do that will keep him away from anything dangerous?"
Shiraamer nods. "I agree. The next time I do my walk thru I'll see if I can get Slade to find a job for him. It might not be easy though. He doesn't like anybody down there with him. You know Engineers. I don't own Miisha, she's his baby. I had hoped that the days were over when we had to worry about our own. Slade will be doing a closer inspection on Miisha so he should find something if it's there. Make any revisions to crew schedule you need to. Keep me informed. I will want another meeting before we enter the system to double check that we know what we can about the planet and hopefully don't get caught in more red tape then we have too. The sooner we finish this run, the happier I'll be. Anything else you have to report?"
"Uhhh no. You contacted me."
"Oh, that's right. Sorry. I'm tired. Gotta get some sleep. We'll talk again in the morning."
"Good night captain." And with that Gvarokh leaves the captain's quarters.
Characters: Slade and Gvarokh
Location: Gvarokh's quarters on the Miishakaal
1125.7.3 - 08:005th Day of Larkarda - Gishinridu Jump
After finishing some morning calisthenics, Gvarokh is about to take a shower when his door buzzer sounds. The security system indicates that it is Slade.
With a growl, he says, "Enter!"
The door opens. Slade is nervously peering over shoulder in the direction of the crew lounge. He steps into Gvarokh's quarters and closes the door. When he turns to face Gvarokh, it becomes obvious that Slade hasn't slept. The dark circles under his eyes and caffeine jitters and twitches are evident.
Slade starts talking, "Sorry. I waited as long as I could. Did you talk to the captain last night about what I told her?"
"Good. I had another idea while I was down in engineering last night. You remember those shotguns that Simrii presented to the crew a couple of days ago?"
"I was wondering if -- perhaps -- the shotguns might be defective! What a pisser that would be, engines dead, getting boarded, and these nice pretty guns misfire! Could be the firing pins are out, could be the cartridge primers are shit, could be everything's just dandy. If all three shotguns are provably defective, it would be strong corroboration for my worst-case theory, and it would indicate that it's time to take Simrii into the cargo hold for a storytime beating."
Gvarokh mulls it over, then replies, "When did you say you thought of this?"
"No. I couldn't sleep. I've been up all night going over the entire engineering section checking every single nook and cranny for signs of sabotage."
"Did you find any?"
"No, but that just means I haven't found it yet. I still haven't checked the fuel tank supply lines or the fuel purification plant. I wouldn't mind using the ship's internal sensors for a sweep. Do you think you could arrange that?"
Gvarokh thinks for a few moments, trying to take everything in, "Here is what I suggest. I am heading to the bridge, anyway. I will run a complete sensor sweep and system diagnostic on the ship's systems. If something has been screwed with, it should at least point it out. A little later in the day, I will ask to try out one of the new shotguns. I haven't shot one in years, so that will give me a good excuse to ask to."
Gvarokh stops and take in Slade's condition again, and continue, "And Slade, please get some sleep. The captain and I can keep watch over engineering. Or, better yet, get some sleep in there. But if something is going on, we will need you at full capacity."
"I would just crack open a shell and empty it out, test it with the primer, it saves on bulkheads. Anyhow, I'm going to bed like you said. Wake me up for dinner or something."
"I will Slade."
Slade exits Gvarokh's quarters and heads back to his stateroom. He locks the door and falls asleep the moment his head hits the pillow.
Character: Gvarokh & Shiraamer
Location: The Bridge of the Miishakaal
1125.7.3 - 08:45
After a quick shower, Gvarokh gets dressed and heads into the galley. He grabs a breakfast bar and a caffeinated beverage. The only one there is Chuck.
Gvarokh grunts a reply as he heads to the bridge to either verify or refute Slade's paranoid suspicions. The first order of business is to verify that the sensors are working properly. He instructs the main computer to perform a diagnostic on all internal sensors and note any incongruities.
A couple of minutes later the test is complete. The system reports no problems. Internal sensors are fully operational.
Gvarokh then sets up the internal sensors to sweep the entire ship for everything. He hopes that they'll find nothing and that Slade's behavior is just a case of jumpspace induced paranoia.
While the scan is underway, the security system displays a holoimage of the captain entering engineering. Slade must have locked engineering when he left. Normally ship's security doesn't bother recording the comings and goings of the crew, unless activated. That was something reserved for when passengers were on board. Anyway, Slade's lockout of engineering would prevent everyone but him, Gvarokh, and the captain from accessing engineering.
Gvarokh watches the captain call out for Slade as she roams through both engineering decks. Minutes later, Shiraamer leaves engineering. She leaves Slade's lock in place.
The computer distracts him from watching the captain, "Scan complete."
"Display results," Gvarokh orders.
As Gvarokh studies the output, the captain enters the bridge, "Morning Gvarokh." Shiraamer tries to sound cheerful but Gvarokh notices that it is slightly off. "Just finished walking around Miisha for a bit. Always like to start my day that way if I can. Kind of quiet today. Besides Chuck for breakfast, you're the only one I've seen." Motioning to his computer screen. "Didn't mean to interrupt whatever you were doing. Everything ok?"
Gvarokh quietly pushes a button, which closes and locks the iris to the bridge. Looking back, he says, "No. Something's wrong with Slade. He has passed completely over into paranoia, and I am very concerned for him. And, now he has my mind running, because I can't think of a single thing that could be causing this.
"I am running scans that he requested to see if anything is amiss, but so far I am turning up nothing. I also plan on checking out the shotguns for him, but those will likely come clean, too.
"In addition to that, I am running sweeps on the cargo to make sure nothing weird is going on there. His paranoia is making me paranoid.
"I am running out of ideas. I think that if I find nothing, the best we can do is watch him carefully during jump and hope this is just a unique case of jump paranoia."
Shiraamer sighs, "I know what you mean. We need to check it out 'just in case', but I'm thinking along the same lines that you are. Something has Slade spooked. Haven't seen him like this before. Finish checking out things and let me know the outcome. I'm also going to keep an eye out on Slade to see if HE starts to act different. Nothing strong, just being more aware of his behavior. We'll keep each other informed either way."
Gvarokh says, "OK. I'll let you know what I find. By the way, one other piece Slade came up with, was a worry that the shotguns were defective or sabotaged. So, I am planning to take one of Simrii's gifts down to the 'range' later today to see how it handles. I haven't handled a shotgun in years, so that will me a good excuse to test one out." With that he releases the lock, but leaves the iris closed.
Shiraamer nods at his thinking, "Good thinking. It never hurts to check out new equipment and you want to do that before you actually need it." She starts heading toward the iris valve, "I'll be back in my quarters going over things once again. That nagging feeling is still following me. Feel free to interrupt me though -- I'll probably need the break before long." With that, she turns to go.
Gvarokh turns back to face the holo display. Everything has come up negative. There are no anomalies detected.
Pleased that nothing showed up on the internal sensors, Gvarokh sends a quick text message to the captain, "All internal scans report all clear. No anomalies."
She replies back, "Message received. Keep me informed of any changes."
He then returns to his trader studies.
Still on the bridge, the security system gets Gvarokh's attention. A message states that Simrii tried to access Engineering but was denied. Looking at the video, Gvarokh sees Simrii standing outside of Engineering with 2 cups of coffee, puzzled.
Simrii presses the intercom button to Engineering, but there is no reply. After a minute, he tries again. With a slight shrug Simrii takes a sip his coffee and with a backwards glance at the iris valve he walks away.
Gvarokh follows him on the sensors as he makes his way back to an empty crew lounge where he starts up the SimTeacher and seems intent on reading he takes sips of his coffee every now and then.
Characters: Gvarokh & Slade
Start Location: The Bridge of the Miishakaal
1125.7.3 - 16:00
The computer is chiming and every now and then Gvarokh's consciousness registers the Galanglic phrase "The time is 16:00, alarm call," gets louder in his ears as he awakens.
Gvarokh comes around to full consciousness, the smell of stale grrahhak permeates his nostrils. This is the only change in scent he can perceive apart from the increase in body odor he is emitting. Looking around the bridge nothing seems to have changed, moving his snout a little to catch any other scents brings nothing new.
Gvarokh realizes that he has napped holding the cup of grrahhak and again it has not been spilt over the controls. He gives thanks to the creator and inserts the nozzle of the lid to the side of his snout to take a drink of the now cold liquid. The caffeine takes a couple of seconds to hit but it makes no difference, he was fully awake before he drank.
The drink loosens his mouth. He must have been panting during his nap and he realizes that he is a little hot. After finishing the grrahhak he naturally starts panting again and unconsciously moves his left arm to cover any dribbles that might fall from his tongue as it dangles slightly out of the left side of his snout.
Looking over the bridge controls as he cools down, shows no change. The jump clock is running smoothly and there seem to have been no security alerts. He turns off the alarm call realizing that he intended to go and test the shotguns.
Gvarokh enters the ship's locker and grabs the shotguns that Simrii presented to the crew. He walks through the crew lounge on his way to wake up Slade. It is empty.
He hits Slade's buzzer. After the fifth time, a sleepy voice says, "Yeah, I'm up. I'm up. Come in."
The door slides open and Gvarokh enters the dimly lit quarters. "C'mon Slade. Let's go test these things."
Slade finishes getting dressed. He looks rested and calm. He isn't displaying any signs of his earlier paranoia.
Before they leave Slade asks, "Did you get a chance to do those scans."
"Yes. Everything came up negative."
Slade sighs relief.
They enter the cargo hold and head down to the "target range." Chuck is there throwing knives at a target.
"Hey guys. Whatcha doin'?"
"We need to test these weapons. Are you finished?"
"Yeah, yeah, sure, sure." He hurries over to the target wall and removes his knives.
He heads back over to join Gvarokh and Slade. When he doesn't leave, Gvarokh growls.
"Ok ok. I can take a hint. Sheesh." And leaves the hold.
Gvarokh and Slade spend the next hour going over the weapons. Firing pins, cartridge primers, bore holes, trigger mechanisms, and everything else that you can think of check out fine.
Gvarokh says, "I guess that leaves us one more test to perform. Load them up please Mr. Trask."
Slade loads each of the shotguns. As he finishes he hands them to Gvarokh, who in turns fires at a makeshift target on the firing wall. Since Gvarokh hasn't fired a shotgun in a while, his aim is a little off. He's close enough to bullseye though that had it been a living target, it would be in a world of hurt.
"Well Slade, it would appear that these shotguns are in perfect working order. And since the internal sensors haven't picked up anything I think it's safe to say that Simrii hasn't sabotaged the ship. However, it never hurts to keep an eye opened and your nose to the wind. If you do stumble across anything unusual, feel free to bring it to my attention. Let's not worry the captain until the situation warrants it."
Slade sighs, "Yeah ok."
Gvarokh slaps him on the back and says quite loudly, "Now let's go put these things away and get ourselves something to eat."
Characters: Slade, Simrii, Gvarokh
Location: Crew Lounge on the Miishakaal
1125.7.3 - 18:00
Chuck is cooking. Gvarokh and Slade are eating dinner. They seem to be reminiscing about something when Simrii comes walking in.
"Slade, where were you today? I went down for my daily dose of engineer speak and you were all locked up."
"Hi Simrii. Sorry, I was feeling kinda shitty. Haven't been at my best lately, and I slept late. Feeling better now. Want something to eat?"
Gvarokh silently watches the conversational exchange.
Chuck doesn't say anything either, but people are used to ignoring him anyway.
"Well that's good to hear, was wondering what'd happened to you." The half Vilani man smiles, "I was just thinking about dinner, maybe something ethnic I can make a bunch of old Solomani dishes that run from bland to quite spicy or a Vilani sandwich that's to die for." Simrii looks through the galley to see what he can create on a budget.
Location: Gvarokh's quarters
1125.7.6 Standard Imperial time: 17:25, Standard Vland time: 17:23, Local time: 15:45
Now that things have calmed down, Gvarokh sends the Captain an email letting her know that because of her ominous sounding email, he simply prepped the ship for go, and did not pursue cargo for their empty nine dtons. "Is this OK so we can leave quickly, or can we stay a little longer and I'll look for cargo again?"
Gvarokh lays down on his bed. As the adrenaline and anxiety subside, fatigue takes over and he dozes off.
About a half hour later he awakens to the sound of his comm buzzing. It's the captain, audio only.
"You could've stopped by my quarters silly."
Gvarokh rubs his eyes and yawns, "Well, I was under the impression that you wanted privacy."
"My door is always open for you Gvarokh. And I'm sorry if I made you worry. I'll admit that my original intentions were cause for alarm."
Gvarokh's ears perk up, "Oh?"
"Yes." Her voice drops down, as if the starport could eavesdrop on their conversation, "I went there with the intent to bribe Hianni. I didn't want us to be stuck here for a month and I didn't want to risk going any further into Vilani space without the transponder." Her voice resumes its normal volume, "But, fortunately it never came to that. Once we got to talking, everything just fell into place. Before I knew it, he invited me out to dinner."
Gvarokh smiles. She's happy. That's good.
"But to get back to your original question, we should probably just get under way. As much as I'd like to spend some more time with Hianni, this isn't the best place for you and Vlad. And since everything we've got in the hold is destined for Hrun, I think we'll have better luck filling it up there. I'd hate to miss out on a good haul because I've got to detour to some backwater for 9 tons. Don't you agree?"
Gvarokh says, "I completely agree. I will prepare the crew and ship for departure and get us going when the fuel purification is complete. I want to wait for the purification to finish in case we need to fix the fix, as it were."
She replies, "I agree. Once Slade is satisfied with the new equipment's performance, we should get underway for Hrun."
She adds, "Let me know when Slade has given his blessing and I'll come up to the bridge to get ready for jump."
The connection is then terminated.
Characters: Slade &s Gvarokh
Location: Miishakaal's Bridge and Engineering
1125.7.6 Standard Imperial time: 18:35, Standard Vland time: 18:33, Local time: 16:55
Slade calls Gvarokh from the bridge to let him know all's well, "We're all set. That's the fastest service I've ever seen -- it's like we're the only ship on dock. That must have been some amazing freakin' -- ahem -- dinner the Captain had with that guy. Ahem."
Gvarokh replies, "That's good news Slade. The captain would like you evaluate the fuel purification plant after it's done cleaning up the fuel. A final seal of approval before we leave."
"Ok Gvarokh. Slade out."
Slade leaves the bridge and heads to engineering. He tells Vincent he can stay in the galley and finish his dinner.
An hour goes by before the fuel purification process is completed. It actually finishes a few minutes early. Slade runs a diagnostic on the FPP and reviews the sensor data for any anomalies. He can't find any. The FPP is running great.
Slade contacts Gvarokh, "Gvarokh, we're all set down here. The FPP passed with flying colors."
"Thank you Slade. Prepare the ship for departure. We're headed to Hrrrrrrrun."
Characters: Shiraamer and Gvarokh
1125.10.1 - 01:35
On their way to the next spherical object, the ship comes across one of the cylindrical objects. Sadly, it turns out to be a body minus its limbs.
Before she stops, Gvarokh mutes the intercom and says, "Captain, we don't know how much air is left. If there is a chance the other sphere is a rescue ball, we should probably check it first. This poor soul isn't going anywhere."
Shiraamer nods absently, "You're right of course. Let's get the other rescue balls first and if we have time we'll come back for this one. I thought it was interesting the body doesn't have any limbs. First things first though."
The third and final spherical object isn't a rescue ball either. It's metallic with a hole in it, resembling a puncture. It's purpose not apparent to the bridge personnel.
"That's it for potential rescue balls," Gvarokh says grimly, "There's been nothing else on my scanners that could be one."
Gvarokh suggest that they go back and pick up the body, then check the objects that look recorder-y. "If we find a match, we can have the snatch squad pick them up."
Shiraamer shakes her head, "As much as I want to look at the body without arms, I'm going to pass right now. Let's see if we can find the recorder. It's a toss up, in my opinion, which might be more useful. If we don't find the recorder soon though, we can try to go back and get that other rescue ball. We have a lot of questions but not a lot of answers nor time for a lot of investigation."
Gvarokh corrects her, "There aren't any other rescue balls. We've checked out all of the spherical objects. We're looking at only one survivor here."
You proceed on to the first of six small boxes which could be the flight recorder. Along the way you pass another body. You slow down long enough for Gvarokh to get a good image enhancement with it. The body appears intact. "Dead from vacuum exposure perhaps."
You come alongside one of the boxes. It's too small to make out from the bridge. You'll have to bring it aboard. Shiraamer comms down to Vlad and Lakir to get ready to snag it.
The first box turns out to be an intact sensor telemetry router so the search for the flight recorder continues.
Along the way to the next candidate, a third body is passed. It is mostly intact, though the right leg is chopped off at the knee and the right arm is chopped off at the elbow. There's also an obvious puncture wound in the abdomen.
The second box turns out to be the flight recorder.
At this time, Shiraamer is feeling pretty tired. Coffee isn't doing it anymore. Gvarokh looks to be in similar shape. With the crew being awake for 18-19 hours straight, she decides to call of the search before safety is compromised.
Turning to Gvarokh she says, "I'm taking the ship out of the debris field and setting a course back to Umilikha. We've drifted pretty far out so we should get there in 7 hours or so. I'll notify the crew, but I'll radio in to Umilikha Down first."
Gvarokh says, "I wish we weren't so tired. I would have liked to examine the wreckage more, but we're just too much of a danger to ourselves right now. I do think we need to keep a very close eye on our guest, though."
"Agreed. But maybe more for her protection from the paranoia that's so prevalent on our ship."
"Oh yeah," she continues, "I want you to set up a watch schedule. I'm going to go meet out guest as soon as I'm done here."
She radios in to Umilikha Down and informs them that only one survivor was found and three confirmed dead, though not brought on board the ship. Also she tells them that the flight recorder was found.
Umilikha Down acknowledges the survivor but inquiries further as to why the bodies were left to drift.
She stretches the truth, "Safety issues. Undetonated missile in vicinity of one body. Radioactive materials and potentially damaging debris around the others."
This appears to satisfy their curiosity.
"Looking forward to your arrival Miishakaal. Umilikha Down out."
"Now to inform the crew," Shiraamer says with obvious reluctance.
NPC: Chuck and several passengers
Location: Miishakaal, docked at Skiire Starport
1125.10.6 - 06:50 Imperial Time, 22:38 Vilani Time, 15:45 Local Time
Everyone has been paged early for the day as passengers are expected and you need to be prepared for departure as soon as they are on board. Chuck has managed to provide an excellent breakfast and is just providing coffee and fruit juice.
Gvarokh tells Chuck, "An excellent spread, Chuck. This should help impress the guests."
Chuck smiles broadly, "Thank you, Gvarokh."
An incoming comms call is received.
"Miishakaal, we have arrived as requested." On the video you can see two human and two Vargr females in Naval uniforms. They're all ratings of various rank, and the spokeswoman is a petty officer. Gvarokh recognizes her as the woman who booked four low passages earlier in the local day.
Gvarokh goes to meet them at the door. Of the two vargr females, one pays no mind to him after her initial sniff while the other mewls that she finds him interesting. No one picks up on this. The two humans in the group seem perfectly comfortable around vargr. He then brings them in to introduce them to the captain and Chuck. Gvarokh explains to the four that Chuck is the ship's medic and that he will be handling the cryo-process.
The captain greets the passengers and follows normal protocol for low berthing. The crew has their normal pre-flight checklists to do. Shiraamer has confidence her crew knows the routines by now.
Gvarokh offers to let the popsicles have some refreshments prior to going to the berths.
The Petty Officer replies, "Thanks that would be good."
One of her Vargr companions looks around, sniffs, and asks, "What have you got?" It's the one that seemed disinterested in Gvarokh.
Chuck replies, "The usual you would expect on a ship." He indicates that they should take a seat while he fires up a ship's terminal. "There is a drop of mixed juice on the table that our XO and crewman seem to like, but I'd advise against any stimulants before going into the berths."
Chuck's medical certifications appear on the terminal as he turns it to show them while they help themselves to drinks.
The interested vargr maneuvers herself to stand closest to Gvarokh but yet still remain with her group.
The same Vargr who sniffed looks over the certificates, "Battlefield and field hospital medic with trauma specialty hay? What experience do you have with berths?"
Check replies, "Everything from standard retrieval from troop transports, to fast freeze of critical but curable battlefield casualties, through to slow freeze of major trauma patients for fast retrieval at hospital."
The Vargr looks up at Chuck and her ears prick up, "So you could put us in slow for a fast retrieval at Sardia?"
"Yes, but we only have standard lows aboard so it's likely to be about three times as long going in, and the retrieval isn't likely to be as fast."
To which the Vargr replies, "Yer, but we will be out and ready for a full day's work having had a really relaxing trip." As she looks around at the other three who are nodding their heads. She holds her gaze at the other vargr and emits a guttural growl implying, "No time to play." The humans are oblivious to it.
Chuck replies, "No worries then. Here's the standard contract. I'll need your IDs. Credits and luggage to the XO," Chuck nods at Gvarokh, "Oh and if you have anything you think we should know about please tell us, as we will be doing standard scanning."
The PO replies, "Only standard issue snub pistols and a gauss pistol." She passes over the IDs.
"Ship's locker then." Chuck turns to Vincent, "Can we have four small compartments of the ship's locker programmed for these IDs please?" He passes the IDs across, after logging them onto the ship's passenger list.
"No problem" says Vincent as he turns towards the ship's locker. Once there he programs the compartments with the ID's he was just given.
As the four stand up, the PO passes a Naval Warrant Credit stick to Gvarokh. "It will want a copy of the contracts on it to authorize payment." And they all sign a copy of the contract in accordance with their IDs.
Gvarokh runs the credit stick in through a terminal with a reader. The whole process goes through as expected.
The four women head over to the ships locker. In the compartments of the ship's locker that Vincent has programmed for them, they each put in standard issue Vilani Navy snub pistols, while the PO puts in a gauss pistol as well. Each uses their palm or paw prints to access the compartments and then take their IDs back from Vincent.
Chuck looks at Vincent and then Gvarokh for indications that they are both happy.
Vincent calls out, "I'm all set." Gvarokh gives a curt nod to indicate that things are fine.
Chuck then turns to the four women and says, "Ladies if you would follow me?" He indicates the corridor to the first two low berths on the starboard side of the ship "Who would like to be first?" can be heard as Chuck opens the iris by the starboard cargo hatch.
The interested vargr gives a last regretful look at Gvarokh and a slight whimper before heading down the corridor. Her tail is limp, reflecting her disappointment at her predicament.
As soon as he's out of ear shot, the comm chimes again. It's Captain Lishenii's party. Shiraamer greets them at the starboard airlock and brings them into the crew lounge for introductions and processing.
Captain Liishenii is a middle aged man with plenty of gray in his hair and his beard. He practically bubbles and rattles when he speaks like an old engine. Colonel Khiigshiikll is several years older than the captain, clean shaven, and more reserved. Regimental Sergeant Major Miigaki is an attractive woman with an athletic build.
Shiraamer introduces the crew, save for Chuck who is still busy with the low berth passengers, then asks Gvarokh to process them and Vincent to stow their weapons in the ship's locker. She departs to the bridges to ready the ship for takeoff and orders all other personnel to start on their pre-flight checklist.
These humans don't appear to have any problem with Gvarokh either. Gvarokh recognizes the Captain as the rather odd fellow who made the call to the ship requesting transport. He seems the most relaxed. The Colonel is not far behind. He's obviously the pack leader. The female seems distant, but its not directed at Gvarokh. Its seems towards the crew in general. Maybe the captain, specifically. Gvarokh isn't sure. The human doesn't feel strongly enough to emit much of a scent and her military training hides any subtle body clues.
After their weapons are stowed in the ship's locker, Vincent shows the trio to their quarters on the upper deck and heads to his station to ready himself for takeoff.
NPC: Chuck + 4 low berth passengers
Location: Miishakaal, parked at Surata Down
Chuck has already begun the revival sequence for the commanding officer, a
human female. He doesn't notice Gvarokh coming up behind him.
Without taking his eyes away from the low berth module control display, Chuck replies, "Oh! Hi, Gvarokh! Didn't hear you coming down the hall."
"You don't mind if I observe, do you?"
"Not at all. Besides, you're the XO. You can pretty much do you want, right?" Chuck smiles to show that the comment was meant good naturedly.
"Rrrrrright," Gvarokh says assertively.
"Since you're here, you can lend a hand if these fair lady popsicles feels a bit woozy."
"Ok, but I don't have any medical training."
Chuck brushes it aside, "Don't need to unless there's a complication. You just need to get them to lie still if they're dizzy. That's all." The first compartment lid opens. "Ok, she's set. I'm gonna move on to the next one."
Gvarokh moves closer to the first berth. "She's still asleep. Is that normal?"
"Oh yeah. Her body temperature's normal. She'll come around in a minute or so."
And just like that, her eyelids begun to flutter open. She tries to speak but nothing comes out.
"Uhhhh, she's having trouble talking."
"Just hand her that water bottle."
Gvarokh does as he's told.
The woman takes the water bottle from him and drinks. "Thank you," she says.
"Did the trip go ok?"
"Yes. We're at Surata Down on Sardia."
Chuck stands up, "Ok, this one's all set. I'm gonna head over to the port side to thaw the others." He heads down the corridor and cuts through the cargo hold to get to the other side. Going through Engineering would be quicker but Slade would have a fit.
Gvarokh peeks in at the second berth. It's the vargr female who all but ignored him. Damn. I can't leave these two alone here.
It seems like forever to Gvarokh before the vargr female wakes up. As soon as she's able to stand, Gvarokh escorts them over to port to the others.
Upon reaching the port berths, Gvarokh sees that Chuck has already revived the other human female and is in the midst of reviving the other vargr female.
Once the lid pops open, Gvarokh asks Chuck, "All set?"
"Good. How about you head to the ship's locker to get the passengers their gear. I can handle it from here."
Chuck looks puzzled for a couple of seconds, but then something clicks and the faintest of smiles appears on his face. "Yes, sir," he says. To the passengers, he says, "If you ladies will follow me, we'll see that you get your gear."
After Chuck has led the passengers through the first iris valve, the fem in front of him begins to stir. Her eyes open slightly. She stretches and yawns, revealing a lithe form and a perfect set of teeth. If there was room for two in there, Gvarokh would climb right in.
She smiles, "Now that's a pleasant sight to wake up to."
Gvarokh returns the smile and says, "Now I know what the prince saw after the kiss."
She smiles, obviously pleased with the complement.
He then reaches over, offering to help her get up. Once she is standing and not wobbly, he says, "Your friends have gone to the locker to collect their stuff. I'll show you where they are."
"Ok, but please take it slow. I'm still a bit grrroggy," she says a bit coyly.
He pauses for a moment, then continues with a touch of sadness in his voice, "Pity you must leave so soon. But duty calls, I suppose."
She stiffens, "Yes it does." She pauses, then asks, "How long will you be staying on Sardia?"
Gvarokh looks down and says, "Not long. We need to swap cargo, but probably only a day or two. The captain wants a quick turnaround." He pauses momentarily, then asks, "Are you stationed here, or are you continuing through?"
"We just got transferred here. I don't know which of the naval facilities we'll be sent to in-system, but since they're all around the gas giants, we won't be on Sardia for too long." She looks down at her watch then stops. "We're in the middle of the rest cycle right now so you probably won't get much unloading done for a while. I have to check in but I'll have some free time later." She turns on the charm: smiles and nuzzles. "If you get some down time, would you care to meet me for a drink?"
Gvarokh thinks to himself, "Hey! No time like the present!" He brightens and replies, "I will make time for that drink!"
With a devilish grin she says, "Good!" She reaches into her pocket and grabs a calling card. The name on it is Dhagha. "You know how to use one of these, right?"
Gvarokh says with confidence, "Of course. Slip it into the comm reader and it automatically uploads your number to my contacts file and looks for you. Did I get that right or have things changed that much since I left the Navy."
"Guess you'll have to wait and see," she says with a sly smile.
As the two of you enter the crew lounge, Dhagha's companions have just finished getting their gear.
Gvarokh improvises, "You seem to walking fine now. I take it that the low berth wobblies have passed?"
Dhagha plays along, "Yes. Thank you, sir."
Dhagha gets her belongings and joins her companions. As they disembark, Dhagha turns around for one last look and winks.
Chuck joins him at this point. Whether or not he saw the wink, Gvarokh doesn't know and Chuck doesn't let on. "I'm gonna grab some sack time, ok boss?"
"Yes, Chuck. Go right ahead. Oh, and good job with the low berth passengers."
He smiles, "Thanks, Gvarokh," and departs.
Gvarokh decides secures the ship and decides to do likewise.
Location: Miishakaal, parked at Surata Down
Cargo loading is nearing completion and the captain has already sent invites
to the first batch of passengers. All have agreed to her terms for transport.
As soon as cargo loading is complete, Gvarokh is to assist the captain with
screening the passengers, to make sure that they're not dangerous to the crew in
any way. Shiraamer is really crushing Gvarokh's first chance at fun in months,
but there isn't really much he can do about it. Sardia's rules and regulations
for offworlders, or maybe it's something else, really has her in a foul mood.
He's got a few minutes to spare while the loading process continues so Gvarokh tries to contact Dhagha to break the news to her. For better or worse, he gets her voicemail.
Gvarokh says, "Dhagha, I am afraid it was not meant to be. We will be shipping out shortly, and I will have no free time prior to then. However, we will likely have to come back through in the near future. If you leave a message for me at the starport once you get your assignment, I will call you on the way back through.
"If you get this before too long, please give me a call, anyway. I would like to at least give you a proper goodbye."
Gvarokh then closes the channel and heaves a large sigh. He swallows his disappointment and gets back to work.
The captain texts him, "How much longer? I'm over at the terminal screening passengers and could use your help."
Gvarokh growls and texts back, "Should be done within the half hour."
NPC: Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha
Location: Gvarokh's quarters on Miishakaal
1125.11.7 - 20:00 Imperial Time, 13:00 Vilani Time
Gvarokh is the last crewmember to be interviewed. The captain will be interviewed after him. Gvarokh's paranoia about the passengers has left him anxious and has been unable to nap over the course of the three hours of interviews. He paced the cargo hold to bide the time. If there's anything that he can discern from the interviews, each of the crewmembers has come through the interviews fine. None has looked the worse for wear afterwards.
Gvarokh enters his room, which is temporarily not his. At least it doesn't smell that way.
The Chief Inspector rises to greet him and thanks him for taking the time to provide witness testimony. Gvarokh wasn't expecting a cordial greeting so he's a bit put off by this, but in a good way.
As far as cops go, Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha doesn't seem all that bad. No condescending tone. No veiled threats. No odd scents to give him away, though the combat armor he wore would mask everything except his head, which was exposed. Pretty straightforward human.
The Chief Inspector explains that this is merely an evidence gathering inquiry. He isn't planning on filing any charges until there's sufficient evidence to convict someone of a crime. There will be more action in the short run among the insurance companies than in the courts.
After giving his name and stating how long he'd been a member of the crew, Gvarokh tells his version of what happened, but is careful to leave out the bit of sabotaging the engines to prevent their return to the planet.
The human just lets the holorecorder take it all in. When Gvaorkh is done, Khiikurshasekha asked him a couple questions. "How did you feel after the captain gave the order to surrender?"
"They did have us significantly outgunned. We had little chance of survival in ship-to-ship combat. When it came down to whether or not we should resist them when they boarded, the crew were all for fighting back, but the captain said no. I wasn't sure that she chose the corrrrrect course of action, but it is my duty as first officer to support her decisions."
"Weren't you worried about getting killed anyway? Or the passengers for that matter?"
"We all thought that the pirates were going to kill us, but the captain insisted on taking the corsairrrr at his worrrrd. In the end, her decision proved to be the corrrrect choice. We may have lost cargo and equipment but we have our lives."
He nods while asking, "Did you lose anything?"
"My laser pistol."
"One thing that I don't understand is why you and the captain took such an aggressive stance with the passengers. From what I've heard, the situation was about to turn ugly, but your chief steward," he looks through his notes to find the name, "Chuck Strider, was able to settle the situation. Would you care to comment about that?"
Gvarokh's ears droop, giving him a sullen appearance. He says, "Not really. I was overreacting to the prospects of returning to Sardia. I was in the wrong. Fortunately Chuck was there to keep a lid on things. He did a wonderful job.
"Understand, Inspector, I am a Vargr who has been among humans all his life, and knows humans well. Because of this, Vargr do not trust me. Unfortunately, neither do most humans. The prospect of going back to Sardia does not excite me, as I do not rate the chances of me leaving very high."
A look of surprise crosses his face, "Why is that? I realize that Sardia's judicial system leaves something to be desired for offworlders, but piracy is a matter for the Ziru Sirkaa. Local authorities have no jurisdiction in the space lanes."
Gvarokh considers the Inspector's reply, then says, "Then I was doubly wrong."
He smiles, "It takes a big man to admit that." He stands, shakes Gvarokh's paw, and thanks him for his time.
Gvarokh leaves his room somewhat more positive about the ship's fate than when he went in.
He turns right towards the bridge to get the captain. She's fallen asleep in the pilot's chair. He gently wakes her.
She bolts upright, "I'm awake."
"The Chief Inspector will see you now." He tries to appear positive without saying anything that the guards outside might pick up. He's not sure if she notices.
She says, "You have the bridge, Gvarokh," and leaves.
Gvarokh sits down in the pilot's chair and dozes off.