After The Poker Game (Larkarda)
Searching Through The Debris (Bridge Only) (Umilikha)
A Walk With Vincent (Ashki)
Interview with Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha (Sardia)
Characters: Simrii, Shiraamer, & Vincent
Location: Port Turret of the Miishakaal, en route to Gishinridu
1125.6.5 - 23:05
Whilst walking back to her quarters, Shiraamer hears Simrii call out to her from the port turret, "Goodnight skipper, say is that top a real Sobatu or just a very good knockoff?"
The captain peeks inside the turret. A look of mock indignation on her face, "Of course it's the real deal. I saved up my credits for it. No ship funds were sacrificed for it." She enters the turret. Simrii notes that the blouse has been buttoned up a bit more than it was at the card game.
Simrii smiles a bit, "I hate it when someone tries to knock off an original. It usually just comes out wrong. The sleeves are too long or some such travesty against nature like that."
"I agree, but sometimes a girl just can't afford the original." She pauses, "Didn't know you were a man that was so inclined towards fashion."
"I had the distinct pleasure, or perhaps misfortune of spending an inordinate amount of time around the designer Karl Varriiliik, tall bald fellow from Vland, always wore a silly hat. He hated Sobatu with a passion, used to curse her out for days on end, hated being upstaged by that woman. Not to mention I had four sisters, two of whom were fashion models and two of whom merely collected expensive designer clothing."
"I've heard of him. Didn't much care for his style though. Too rigid. Too asymmetrical."
" Simrii nods, "That was why he was just good and never great."
Simrii continues, "You want to give me a heads up on who I should not be talking to about the poker game tomorrow?"
She chuckles, "It's a wash between Vincent and Chuck. They seemed a bit distracted tonight." She smiles, "They're still there if you'd care to win some more money away from them but I think that they're done. Everyone else has gone to bed."
Simrii shakes his head, "No thanks. I've been where they're at and it's not a pleasant place to be."
The captain notices that Simrii is reading an actual book, not a data pad, PDA, or ebook, "A real book. Wow. I never would've guessed that you were a reader Simrii."
"A man of many talents." He looks at the spine of the book, "It's getting a bit worn out but it's so hard to find real books anymore and they're so much better than a data pad. There's a warmth and friendliness to a book, a comfort and familiarity." He smiles a little, "Besides books make you ask questions that data pad and music readers never do. Have you ever heard a live version or even a live recording of Vivaldi or Bach?"
"No, I haven't. But as a child my mother took me to a couple of Akhukhukhi performances. But Vilani ballet never did much for me. I guess that's my father's influence."
"You'll never listen to a silly crystal player rendition of a music sheet ever again. Have you ever paused to wonder what really did happen to Mina?"
"Mina? Who's Mina?"
"Vilani ballet is nice, Solomani ballet is better. My grandmother, god rest her soul, was the biggest homosupremacist this side of Terra. Used to extol the virtues of the Rule of Man and drummed ethnic cooking into all of our heads, we all thought she was a card carrying member of SolSec." He rolls his eyes. "Anyways she used to make us listen to all this terran music and terran arts and such."
Simrii puts the book down, "Mina, you know Willamina Harker, seduced by the vampyre Dracula. Bitten and turned into one of his minions, doomed to a life in the shadows never to see the sun again. I mean what ever happened to her after the book? Did she escape? Did she die? Did she ever find her own happily ever after?"
"I got the impression from the holosim that she couldn't be happy after what she did. It was all a tragic end. She probably waited for the sun to come up to die. Or maybe she was released with his death." She shrugs.
He smiles a little, "How many of us can walk nobly to our ends though, we all have an element of self-preservation in our bellys, no matter what it is we've done."
He grins a little. "We all have to ask questions, and just because I used to be a mercenary doesn't mean my questions have to be about guns and bombs."
Before she can answer, Vincent shows up. "Hi captain. Simrii. What's going on?"
"We were just having a chat about ballet and vampires." She smiles, "Now if you'll excuse me, I must really be off to bed. Good night gentlemen."
"Good night captain, pleasant dreams."
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.
Characters: Shiraamer and Vincent
Location: Skien Starport
1125.10.5 - 23:30 Imperial Time, 15:28 Vilani Time, 08:45 Local Time
After making sure that they're not going to be overheard, Shiraamer turns to Vincent and says, "Thank you for accompanying me Vincent. It appears we now have til the end of day to finish up any of our transactions here. Is there any place you wish to go to while we're out? I left messages for the crew to be prepared for liftoff as soon as our low berth passengers have arrived and are situated, plus our middle class ones." She lowers her voice, "We'll want to be out of here as soon as we can, if the rumors are right."
Vincent replies, "No Cap'n, I'm all set. We can head back to the ship right now if you'd like. Of course since we have til the end of the day... was there anything you needed or felt like doing? It's not often we get some time to ourselves. I'm sure you could always go shopping for new distracting poker playing clothes."
Shiraamer smiles at Vincent, "As much as I love shopping, especially for poker playing clothes, I'm afraid their effect might not be the same if I'm yawning at the table. It's always been hard for me to get used to different hours in the days on different worlds." Leaning in closer to him she confides in a conspiratorial whisper. "Besides, I do have a new outfit for poker. I don't believe you've seen yet my hot pink vest and white, short shorts outfit." She giggles (another sign of her being tired) and waits for his reaction.
Vincent blushes. "Oh great, guess I'm gonna loose again next time we play... You know, I could say that I'm fighting a disadvantage if you keep on wearing clothes like that to poker." With a sly grin, he adds, "Then again, I'd have to say I rather enjoy the distraction.
"You're right though, it's been a while since we've gotten off ship. I don't want you to feel cheated by not getting a chance to do some of your shopping or whatever."
He nods, "I know we're both a little tired, but since we don't have to leave til later tonight, we can always run off and do something and still get back in time to take a good nap before we leave... if that's ok with you Cap'n. And don't worry about me, getting off the ship and having breakfast with you was good enough for me. If there's any shopping to do, I can always order it and have it delivered to the ship."
Shiraamer chuckles delightfully and hooks her arm through Vincent's. "I like that attitude Vincent. Of course, it's nice to know that my efforts are appreciated. Now to explain some of the rules of spending time with your captain in town. Number one rule -- I dislike having to make decisions, although I will if I have to. It's my time away from the ship. I'm just a woman who likes to have a guy on her arm. Soooo, that being said, you're the guy and I'm the woman. For this limited time only you get to tell me where to go. Rule number 2," said in a hushed, low tone, "Since there are rumors of an action that might be going down soon, and hence the need for an expedited and efficient take off, we shouldn't be out here overly long." Shiraamer chuckles again and looks up at Vincent before she lets the other shoe fall. "Oh, did I also mention that I have white, thigh high boots with 4 inch heels to go with that hot pink outfit? It goes so nicely with my white lace top. See? Now you know what I'll be wearing, it shouldn't have the same effect on you... should it?" Shiraamer gives a giggle and waits for Vincent to decide where they'll be going.
Vincent raises his eyebrows, "Normally, I'd say that knowing what you're going to wear might help prepare me, but in this instance, I think I'd have to say that I have no chance. Lace, heels, hot pink outfit... Yeah, I should have no problem concentrating." Vincent pull her closer as he thinks of what to do next, not having expected this very pleasant surprise. "Since we've eaten breakfast, how about we take a walk and see if there's an Arboretum or park where we can take a stroll. It's been a while since I've had a beautiful woman on my arm and would love to take advantage of it. After we're done, if we still have time, I'm sure there's a museum or movie theater we could check out." Vincent looks around to see if there's some sort of central terminal he can access to help in his cause, he needs to find an Arboretum and a flower shop. "After that we should probably get back, I wouldn't want anything to happen to you."
Shiraamer nods to Vincent, "See? That wasn't so hard. I love your idea, especially the part about not letting anything happen to me. Lead on." Shiraamer is content to let Vincent lead the way so she can enjoy the fashions, the scenery, and the company, in between keeping watch for people who wish to spoil their day (muggers, etc.)
Vincent leads Shiraamer to an access terminal outside the hotel and quickly pulls up a map of the Starport. This shows him that there is a garden only a short walk from where they are.
Vincent offers his arm to Shiraamer, who takes it, and they stroll in the direction of the park.
Satirine, the primary, is still low on the horizon and it's yellow light has only a little warmth in it. There is a breeze in the air that catches Shiraamer's hair, moving the tendrils and curls slightly away from her, highlighting her face. The soft yellow light only adds to her youthful appearance and the overall effect can only be described as stunning.
As native life on Ashki never made it to land, the gardens are created from Vilani and Terran plants. You think the gardener must be quite good as he blends Terran Redwoods and Cedars with Vialni Unkaladims and Kiishas. The lawn is real Terran grass and the shrubs and planting are well matched.
Walking through the garden and taking in the foliage you notice that there is no one about to spoil your stroll. You expect that most people are at work as you both sit on a white stone bench, watching Satirine slowly rise. There is no heat from below in the garden and there are no canopies overhead and the affect is quite chilling. Vincent and Shiraamer unconsciously move closer together for warmth as they take in the view. The sunlight climbs slowly over the plants, framed on one side by giant redwoods. The effect is quite breathtaking.
Shiraamer, shivering either in delight or the chill, perhaps both, quietly whispers, "There can be beauty in every port if one looks far enough. This will have to go in my favorite places and memories book. Thanks." She falls silent again, content for now.
Vincent replies, "No, thank you for the opportunity. This is a wonderful view. I wouldn't have thought we would have found such scenery." Vincent puts an arm around her. "It's so nice to be able to stop and enjoy such a view when running around the galaxy, though I have to say I'm really enjoying the time I'm spending with you. We should do this more often, provided we get time off the ship to do such things."
After a while, Vincent stands and offers Shiraamer his arm. They walk in the direction of the ship. As they pass a border, Vincent pauses to pick a couple of flowers. They are small and white edelweiss and match Shiraamer's outfit quite well. Vincent gently puts them in Shiraamer's hair.
As soon as Shiraamer and Vincent leave the garden, they feel the warmth from below again, and the chill is taken out of the air. The walk back to the ship is uneventful, with only a slight interruption when Vincent asks Shiraamer to wait for a moment as he disappears around the corner of a building that is just as white and nondescript as the others.
Ariving back at the ship, Shiraamer and Vincent enter the crew lounge only to find it empty.
She looks up at Vincent, that awkward moment that she hadn't expected to occur, actually has. She tilts her head and smiles. "Yes, I think it would be nice to go ashore with you another time, although I can't play favorites too much you know. Another night like tonight though...." Her voice trails off and there is silence for a brief moment.
"I know, and I wouldn't expect you to show me any favoritism," Vincent says as he gently kisses her on her cheek. "I had a wonderful time, and any time you want to get off the ship I'd be more than happy to help."
Her smile broadens. She leans in close to Vincent and whispers in his ear, "Don't expect me to take it easy on you during poker night."
"Don't worry, I think I might have a harder time now keeping my focus playing cards. Especially if you start wearing that outfit with the boots."
With a quick light kiss on his ear she backs up into her room, winking at him right before her door closes. Her humming can faintly be heard through the door.
NPC: Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha
Location: Gvarokh's quarters on Miishakaal
1125.11.7 - 20:20 Imperial Time, 13:20 Vilani Time
The wait has been agonizing. First the passengers and then the crew. Being the last in line for witness interviews has only made Shiraamer more and more worried. She noticed her concerns mirrored in the face of her 1st Officer. The poor vargr couldn't sleep and spent most of the time pacing the cargo hold. The day finally caught up with Shiraamer though and she dozed off on the bridge into a fitful sleep.
"He'll see you now, Captain."
Shiraamer awoke with a start. "I'm awake."
Her old friend looks different, maybe a little more positive than before, but Shiraamer isn't sure.
She says, "You have the bridge, Gvarokh," and leaves.
She enters Gvarokh's room and finds Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha sitting at a desk with a holorecorder. He rises to greet her and thanks her for taking the time to provide witness testimony. Shiraamer wasn't expecting a cordial greeting so she'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. Pretty straightforward guy.
He 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.
She states her name for the record and how long she's owned Miisha. She tells her version of what happened, including how the warning shot happened, something she couldn't confess to Gvarokh. She also leaves out any mention of sabotaging the engines to prevent their return to the planet.
The guy just lets the holorecorder take it all in. When she's done, Khiikurshasekha asks her a couple questions.
"Was this your first encounter with pirates?"
"Your decision to surrender worked. You're all alive. But I understand it wasn't popular with the crew. Still, they followed your orders."
Shiraamer just nods. Not really wanting to say more than she has to.
"I noticed that the pirates took most of your cargo, but not all of it. Care to speculate why?"
Shiraamer nods at the Chief Inspector, "I'm not sure why they took what they did. The circuit boards I'm sure would be easy enough to sell but the iron ore and quartz have me puzzled."
"Raw materials. With supply lines under attack, materials processing companies don't care when the stuff comes from, so long as they get enough to fill their customers' orders."
"One thing that I don't understand is why you took such an aggressive stance with the passengers. From what I've heard, the situation was about to turn ugly, but your chief steward, Chuck Strider, was able to settle the situation. Would you care to comment about that?"
Shiraamer blushes at this and confesses, "I'm sorry about that. I was afraid with panicked passengers that they would try something against the pirates that would get themselves killed. These pirates made it known that they weren't going to tolerate any back talk. I tried to keep the safety of the passengers in mind at all times. That's also why I've refunded the passenger fees and was," Shiraamer takes a big breath before continuing, "hoping that you might take them back to the planet." Shiraamer looks at the Chief Inspector with hope in her eyes and smiles at him.
"Well, I was referring to the incident that took place after the pirates had left the ship and the crew were untied. As for the passengers, I'm not sure that I can take them back. We'll have to wait until the rescue party arrives from the naval base." He checks his watch, "And that should be in about an hour or so. We'll decide then."
Shiraamer gently rubs her wrists where her ties had to be chewed off. "After the pirates left? It took Gvarokh a bit to chew my ties off," she shows him her wrists, "and then we had to find out the status of the ship and if it was safe since they made me vent various areas of Miisha. I'm afraid that I messed up there. I was thinking of so much all at once that I didn't do one area at a time and it took longer then I had anticipated. I'm sure it felt like forever to the passengers. Then I asked them to stay in there rooms where they could do an inventory and get ready for your arrival while we finished finding out the status of Miisha. Their feelings were running pretty high and I didn't have news yet on what our status was. Chuck escorted them back to their quarters and helped them wherever he could."
He nods as he stands up, "Understandable." Extending his hand for a handshake, he says, "Thank you Captain for your statement. Your cooperation in this investigation is appreciated. I'll be a few more minutes collecting my notes and then I'll evacuate your First Officer's quarters."
Shiraamer shakes his hand and says, "Thank you for your efforts in this."
"It's my job," he says with a smile.