Over The Rim Of The Pint Glass
Two At The Bar
Lakir Visits The Captain
Gishinridu - Hrun Jump
The Captain Visits Lakir (Day 1)
Lakir Visits Simrii (Day 1)
Lakir Visits Vlad (Day 2)
Interview with Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha
NPC: Jum the bartender, Jossia Mersshon
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)
After the Captain's toast and Chuck's continued advances, you hunker down into your "bulk", trying for the "invisible" look. You survey the patrons at the bar over your raised pint glass, looking for covert glances, quickly averted heads, open gawking, or sly side glances, with a muttered "eye eye eye". A quick glance at Jum at the bar and return to a survey of the bar stool patrons. You makes a note of the back door to your left and back.
You notice that someone at the bar, is glancing at your table ever so slyly. The guy is broad shouldered but bulky. He has a beard. He is casually, but expensively, dressed. He calls Jum over to him and they start talking. Jum periodically gestures in your direction. Jum seems comfortable enough with him but you can't figure out if he knows him.
You continue to observe the patrons, covertly, over the top of the glass you feign drinking from. The occasional glance is now spared for the main entry, and back door.
Chatter at the table continues. Even the vargr get in on it. One of them calls Jum over. Jum brings menus. The "bearded one" watches Jum head over to the table and then returns to his drink. Mixed drink of some type judging by the highball glass. Now Chuck is talking to Jum again about some wine and whip cream.
Sheeesh! Doesn't Chuck know how obvious he's being? How did I get stuck sitting next to this guy? Now he's got his shotgun out and he's changing ammo. Good grief!
Jum calls out from the bar telling Chuck to put the gun away.
Oh great! Now everyone at the bar is looking at us. So much for going unnoticed.
Bearded One finishes his drink, says a couple words to Jum, and smiles big as he gets up from his barstool. He's now walking towards your table.
Since the Bearded One is only 6 meters (20 feet) away, you decide to intercept him halfway. You see that he is indeed armed with some sort of holstered pistol. You guess gauss pistol. You slide out to your left as Simrii and the others continue to chide Chuck. No one seems to be paying you any attention.
As the two of you draw near, the Bearded One spots you and smiles. It's the smile of a business man looking to make a sale. His beard is well groomed, despite its size. He extends a hand to you, looking to shake it.
"Hi. Joshia Mersshon. The bartender tells me that you and your crew are looking for work." He sounds like he's expecting you to confirm that.
You shake his hand; "Indeed we are, if the price is right, the conditions set, and the Cap'n approves," you reply, as you gesture towards a quite area of the bar, and continue towards it.
He doesn't follow you. He looks a little perplexed. "Well, I would very much like to talk to your captain directly. I don't see why I need to go over to the corner."
"Cap'ns busy, and you may not get much of a warm reception from Shotgun Chuck, you go busting in on his moves. However, do feel free to drop by." You continue to the bar, within earshot of our table, able to watch both doors, and the captain's back.
Obviously frustrated, he follows you to the bar. "Ok. Would you care to introduce me to them then? Mister.... uhhh... I didn't get your name."
"You can call me Lakir. Like I said, if the price is right, and I think the conditions are acceptable, I'll see what I can do about getting you an introduction. I'm not about to waste the Cap'ns down time, and maybe get my nice vest covered with your brains, you go to that table with that piece strapped on, and a crappy offer."
"This little thing? Jum, would you please store my pistol for awhile. I'm afraid that it's making this gentleman nervous." He hands his pistol over to Jum without taking his eyes off you.
"Sure Mister Mersshon." Jum looks at you as if to say, "Give this guy a break."
In a quieter voice, Mersshon adds, "I can assure you that the price is right. But since you won't take my word for it, I'm prepared to offer a 6 figure payment to your outfit for the retrieval of an item for my company from a world in Vilani space. Does that warrant me an introduction?"
"Jum, you know this guy?"
"He has been in my bar a couple of times. But we haven't had a conversation before today." He adds a smile, "And he certainly hasn't reloaded any weapons in my bar. Now if you'll excuse me, Mister Vladgorkfeg is ready to place his order."
Mersshon looks at you with an expression that says, "Well?"
"Wait here." You walk towards table, go down on your haunches, next to the captain's chair, still watching Mersshon, and say, "Guy at the bar, no heavy arty on him now, says he's got a line on a recovery op, six figures, Jum don't know him."
Vladgorkfeg: "An offer of food and drink might sooth the man's ruffled fur. And perhaps make it easier for us to part from him some much needed cash." *grin*
Captain Shiraamer grins. "That exactly what I was thinking Vlad. Seems a shame that the gentleman is a bit put out. Lakir, you had first contact with him. Invite Mr. Mersshon over for a dinner and a drink." Looking at the rest of the group she continues. "Best behavior boys. Mr. Mersshon is already feeling uncomfortable and we don't want to spook him."
"No problem, Cap'n." You walk back to the bar.
To Mr. Mersshon you say, "The Cap'n will see you. Play nice with her, and I'll make sure Jum doesn't play with your hardware."
"Thank you" is his reply as he walks over to the table and takes your seat.
You remain at the bar, slouching down on a stool, glancing at patrons and the doors.
Characters: Lakir & Simrii
NPC: Jum Tixem (briefly) & Jossia Mersshon (briefly, at the end)
Location: The Bridge, a bar at the Larkarda Starport
1125.6.4 - 16:05 / 14:25 local time
Lakir has been hanging at the bar nursing his beer watching the bar crowd and the doors. No suspicious characters have come in and no one seems to be paying the crew any attention anymore, now that Chuck has calmed down. Mersshon must be spinning them quite a story. The hyperactive Chuck actually seems to be paying attention to the guy.
After a while, Simrii gets up from the table and heads over to Lakir. Lakir hasn't known Simrii for very long, but he can tell that the tall, bald guy is disgusted by the look on his face. The two nod at one another as Simrii sits down and waves Jum over.
"What can I get for you Mr. Kugiilii?"
"I'd like a plain vegetarian sandwich with fries on the side if you please."
"Coming right up."
Simrii looks back at the table and Mersshon, "Stinkin' Imp is trying to tie us up in some lousy espionage scheme, he's evidently unaware that nothing he obtains for the Emperor is ever going to end this war. It's gone to far and there's been to much bloodshed for anyone to emerge as the victor."
He takes a sip of his tea, "Mark my words this is going to get a whole lot uglier before it gets any better."
Lakir grunts. "Ya, thought he had the look. The Cap'n buying into it? He looks green for NavInt, any ideas on the faction he's backing?"
"Hook, line and fookin' sinker." Simrii scowls, "He claims to be working for Wellesmoor Diversified Products Inc. Bullshit I've got ten credits says he's a bloody Lucan supporter, real piece of work that one. Wants us to steal some bio-scanner from the Vilani, lost his other agent too."
"Shit. Thought I'd got out of that crap. Nothing like a hot recovery of somebody's idea of a 'secret weapon'."
Lakir pulls out his PDA and logs onto the Larkarda InfoNet. "Let's see if we can find this bastard." He checks the database for info on 'Wellesmoor Diversified Products Inc'.
"Whadayaknow. Wellesmoor is bonafide company. It says here that they make all sorts of stuff, but they specialize in electronics. They have several offices in the sector including one here on Larkarda. Address listed is for Oriole, the city this starport is attached to.
"Ok, let's see if Mersshon shows up. Yep, there he is. There's a comm number listed. No apartment number, though it does say that he lives in Oriole."
Lakir then accesses the TAS netsite. He pulls up a listing of world allegiances, several concentric rings around Larkarda show "last update" marks. Everything within 6 parsecs is up-to-date. The further out one goes, the update stamp gets older and older. Larkarda is on the border of Lucan's Imperium (referred to as just Imperium) and the Restored Vilani Empire.
Jum arrives with Simrii's vegey sandwich and fries, "Here you Mr. Kugiilii."
Meanwhile, back at the table, Mersshon has stood and is shaking hands with the captain. He's smiling. He leaves and walks just past you. As he does so, he nods and says, "Gentlemen." Both of you notice something in his eyes. An ordinary person would just ignore it, but your experience has taught you otherwise.
"Jum," he says, "May I please have my pistol back?"
"Most certainly Mr. Mersshon." Jum hands in back to Mersshon. He holsters it and leaves the bar without looking back.
"Oh he's definitely a spook and not some corporate goof off." Simrii grabs his sandwich and takes a bite. "Like you I thought I'd got out of this shit and I'm certain that no amount of money is worth whatever he's gotten us into."
"Sumbitch_looks like the teams been sucked back in, and the Cap'n bought it! Simrii, figure we ought to step outside for some air? I'm curious to see this guy's ride." Moving to follow Mersshon, watching the other patrons. Gotta go for that smoke.
Simrii shakes his head in disgust, "God damn it. I'm gonna see what he told the skipper."
"Ok then, I'm gonna go tail Mersshon."
Lakir heads out the door. Simrii heads to the table.
Characters: Lakir & Shiraamer
Location: Captain's Quarters on the Miishakaal, en route to Gishinridu
1125.6.6 - 10:10
Lakir gives the captain some time before going to visit her. The captain slept in, as did some of the rest of the crew. The non-urgent nature of jumpspace affords one some time to take liberties with sleep schedules. By now though, the captain has showered and had a cup of coffee. She's on her second cup when Lakir knocks at her door.
Lakir enters the captain's quarters carrying a large bag
"What can I do for you Lakir?"
"I picked up a couple of things for ya."
He sets the bag down on the meeting table and pulls out a 30 cm blade, some body pistol rounds, and a carrying rig.
"What's all this?" she asks.
"Seein' as how you're set on heading into Vilani space, I figured you could use some more ammo for that pea shooter of yours. As well, I notice you never carry a blade, something you may want to reconsider, given the nature of the company we'll probably encounter. Should you so elect, Vilani dress is quite suitable for concealing both the blade, and your snub pistol. The rig for the blade gives you a pile of options for carry, and Slade can probably whip you up a holster for the other side of the assembly, or modify your current holster. Nothin' like that balanced feeling when you're packin."
The captain is surprised by Lakir's generosity, "Thank you Lakir! You didn't have to do that." She comes over and touches him on the arm.
"I can always use more ammo." She picks up the blade. She notices that it's a little lighter. "It feels a little lighter."
"Yep. It's titanium."
"Oh. I've been meaning to get another blade to replace the one that I... uh... lost a couple years ago." She tries on the rig and adjusts it to her size and shape. Lakir notices that the captain's adjustments have pulled her shirt in tightly. It's gone from rather loose fitting to snug and the captain's figure is now accented. She seems oblivious to this though. She then takes it off saying, "I'll have to go to the armory later and try it out with my pistol."
"No problem Cap'n, you do enough for us, so it's the least I can do. You ain't any good to us dead," Lakir smiles.
The captain offers a wry smile, "Glad to hear it."
"Well that's about it. I'll catch you later."
"Ok Lakir. Thanks again."
Lakir Departs the captain's quarters and heads back to that engrossing tech manual on automated cargo handling machinery.
Location: Lakir's stateroom on Miishakaal
1125.7.7 - 10:45
Lakir is passing the time, reading an e-book, when his door chimes. Ever cautious, he checks his security hole to see who's there. It's the captain.
He opens the door. "Oh, hi cap'n," he says nonchalantly.
"May I come in Lakir?"
"Sure." He lets her in and shuts the door. "What can I do fer ya cap'n."
"I came to apologize."
"Apologize? Fer what?"
"Well, I realize that my response to your email back at Gishinridu Starport had an ominous tone to it." Lakir is about to say something and the captain holds up a hand, "It's ok. I know I made Gvarokh worry. I had gone to Hiaani's office with the intent to bribe him. That's why my email sounded so," she searches for the word, "weird. Fortunately, we hit it off and I abandoned my original plans. So I just wanted to apologize to you for needlessly worrying you."
"Not a problem, Cap'n. Little bit o' 'repel boarders drill' never hurt anyone..."
"Uh oh. I didn't hear about that. Should I be worried?" she says with a smile to indicate she's joking around.
"Nah... we needed the practice anyway...."
"Okay," she laughs.
Lakir changes the subject. "Did you get a chance to pump Hiaani for some info on current conditions at Hrun or Theton, or any ops involving our friends from Wellesmoor Diversified Products? I hate bein' out of that info gathering loop..."
She smiles again, "Ahhh Lakir. Always the operative. I didn't want to divulge too much information about our trip to Hiaani, as nice as he was. I did bring up Hrun though. He says that while the planet itself is similar to Gishinridu, the people who live there aren't. First off, there are over nine billion people there, as opposed to a mere eight thousand at Gishinridu. So xenophobes don't have run of the place.
"Mining and manufacturing are big, as is robotics and software. And that's something we should avoid while we're there. Gishinridu had its alien hating cult. Hrun has a secret society of roboticists. I know it sounds weird, but apparently if you work on software for robots, you've got to be a member of this order. And if any member divulges their secrets they kill them. Sounds to me like the old Vilani Patent Laws taken to the next level.
"Oh yeah. There's a naval base there too, but its located in an asteroid belt.
"We should be able to fill up our hold at Hrun without a problem. Lots of exports. All we have to do is decide where we want to go next: Oksanad or Umilikha."
"Well, chances are, those TL 13 goodies will go over better on Umilikha, though the stuff may have a better tech support base on Oksanad, dependin on the kit we acquire......don't think it makes any difference time wise."
"Yes the distance is the same." She casts him a sidelong glance, "I see someone's already been reading up on our route. Good! If you can glean anything that you think will prove useful, please bring it up at the end-of-the-jump meeting. If we can get our next destination figured out by the time we get to Hrun, it will keep our dirtside time kept to a minimum."
"Nah, I just got what's in the ships Library Database prog. Vinny' d be the one with the 'access to info', maybe gettin close to a terminal on Hrun....if it's worth the risk, given our go round last time..."
"Well, I think we're safe for the moment. TAS is pretty good about letting people know what to avoid." She heads to the door. "Well, I'll talk to you later Lakir."
Characters: Lakir & Simrii
Location: Port turret on Miishakaal
1125.7.7 - 14:15
Simrii is reading a worn copy of "Treasure Island" when Lakir peeks his head in the turret.
Lakir says, "Thought I'd find you here. Got a favor to ask."
"What would that be Lakir?"
"May I borrow your weapon's sim sometime this week? I'd like to stay sharp."
Simrii looks up from the dog eared book, "Sure, no problems. I've got pistols and SMG's which one did you want to borrow?"
"Ma-57 plugin, see'in as how it's closest to my GP. Hopefully I can acquire a plug on Hrun for my piece. Flip you some coin for the use of your unit'an all.."
Simrii puts the book down and gets up out of the seat, "You know not everything in this universe is about money," he says as he heads over to his quarters, "that'd be like charging you to read the news or a book."
Lakir follows him.
It takes Simrii a minute to pull the rig gear out of its storage box, "Keep in mind you break it you bought it." He hands Lakir the rig and the manual, "Read the manual to set it up," he starts pointing at parts, "barrel, trigger, pack on the stock, goggles."
"Great! Thanks Simrii, I'll have it back to you tomorrow."
Lakir heads back to his quarters to read the manual. After dinner he heads down to the cargo hold to try it out. It takes a little getting used to, but Lakir soon finds himself heavily immersed in it. Several hours fly by like that. The next day, he returns it to Simrii as promised.
1125.8.1 - 10:00
After breakfast, Lakir shows up at Simrii's quarters with his weapon's sim. "Thanks man! Is it possible that I can use your rig for a couple hours each night we're in jump, if you're cool with that."
"Sure, no problem," Simrii replies, "Same terms apply."
Characters: Lakir & Vlad
Location: Cargo Bay on Miishakaal
1125.8.1 - 10:30
Lakir has been searching the ship for signs of Vlad. He finally tracks him down in the back of the cargo bay. The big wolf has improvised a makeshift barbell and weights from some loose spare parts. He growls as he finishes a set of dead lifts.
Lakir contemplates leaving Vlad to finish, but the vargr has detected his presence, "Lakir! Speak!"
"Heyay buddy...figured to try you out for a bit'o sparing practice, fore' we hit Hrun an' all....didn't want to lose my 'close'in an' personal skills on what's going to be a long and bloody trip, I'm thinkin'.. Mabe' some o' that 'claw' gig you do, versus some good o'le fashioned fake plastic blade. I don't want'ta end up missin' a throat or somtin'...."
Vlad grins a big toothy grin and says "Sounds fun!"
"Perfect! Let me know what sort of timing works with your routine, and we'll get it on." Looking around the cargo bay, "Whatta ya figure, we got enough room here?"
Vlad looks around the makeshift room, "Of course we do! You never know when you're going to be in close quarters combat."
"Great! So what are we lookin' at timewise?"
"Make it afternoons, around fifteen hundred. This way I get my nap in after lunch."
Later that afternoon, the two have their sparring match. Vlad splits his time using a fake sword and going unarmed, relying on his infighting skill. Although Vlad "wins" most of the time, he is good natured about it and offers hints to Lakir as to where he went "wrong." Often, it's just a matter of Vlad's greater speed and strength.
The two practice daily for a half hour to an hour or so. Vlad incorporates it into his daily aerobic exercise regimen.
Location: Lakir's Room on Miishakaal
1125.10.6 - 22:35 Imperial Time, 14:33 Vilani Time, 07:40 Local Time
Lakir has been resting since the cargo loading and has caught up on his sleep, having had a couple of hours in the afternoon. He's not on the duty roster for anything so he's just been brushing up on his analytical skills before looking to hit the sack again when something the cargo loader said rings a bell.
When he was running analysis for Black War mission planning, he would get very accurate Vilani shipping and fleet deployment information - more accurate than his standard operational experience would suggest. He knew better than to ask where the information came from. One time this information came back to bite him. He'd spent less time on contingency planning than he should have, due to the accuracy of the information. But this time the shipping information was drastically wrong and the entire mission was a catastrophic failure.
Lakir sends the captain a message indicating, "That we may want to expedite our departure from the system, as it looks like the locals may be prepping a counter-intel sweep, and with us bein' a foreign vessel and all... might not be to healthy around this port soon."
NPC: Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha
Location: Gvarokh's quarters on Miishakaal
1125.11.7 - 19:00 Imperial Time, 12:00 Vilani Time
Lakir is the third crew member to visit with the Chief Inspector. Chuck was the first. Simrii second. Lakir, not feeling entirely trusting of this guy, smuggles his gauss pistol inside his utility vest. The guards didn't seem to notice.
As far as cops go, Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha didn't seem all that bad. No condescending tone. No veiled threats. Pretty straightforward guy. Nothing up his sleeve like Mersshon.
He was taken completely off guard when the Chief Inspector said, "Colonel Khiigshiikii sends his regards."
Lakir had to think for a second. Although it was only yesterday, it seemed like months ago that Miishakaal had arrived in the Sardia system with the three Army officers on board. As steward, Lakir had ingratiated himself upon them and they welcomed his presence. If the Colonel knows what's going on, we'll be fine.
The Chief Inspector explained that this was merely an evidence gathering inquiry. He wasn't planning on filing any charges until there was sufficient evidence to convict someone of a crime.
After giving his name and stating how long he'd been a member of the crew, Lakir told his version of what happened. The guy just let the holorecorder take it all in. When he was done, Khiikurshasekha asked him one question.
"How did you feel after the captain gave the order to surrender?"
"I was pretty pissed. I thought that we should've fought them."
"Weren't you worried about getting killed? Or the passengers for that matter?"
"We all thought that the pirates were going to kill us anyway. Better to go down fighting."
He nods in such a way that Simrii thinks that he would've done the same.