Tea At The Bar
Was That A Growl?
Two At The Bar
Larkarda - Gishinridu Jump
After The Poker Game
Simrii Visits Engineering (Day 4)
Simrii Visits Engineering (Day 5)
Dinner (Day 5)
Gishinridu - Hrun Jump
Lakir Visits Simrii (Day 1)
Interview with Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha
Simrii Surfs The Net
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)
Simrii walks quietly up to the bar sits down and looks at Jum, "Morning stranger," a small smile comes across his face, "long time no see."
Jum looks at him while he prepares Shiraamer's coffee, "Good afternoon Mr. Kugiilii." He adds a small smile. "Yes, it has been a while. I trust all is well?"
Simrii smiles and leans back against the bar, "Things could be better Jum but god only knows they could be a whole lot worse and as you know every day above ground is a good day."
"Quite right Mr. Kugiilii. Though on Larkarda, with the air the way it is, it isn't such a bad thing to be underground, though a dome will suffice." He lets out a small laugh.
"What's new about here Jum? Anything interesting on the Infonet, I mean aside from the usual Vilanis take this, Lucan takes that, Dulinor moves here, vargrs raid something else..." He pauses for a moment and turns back to the bartender, "What a crazy universe we live in where we can gloss over the deaths of a billion people every couple of weeks and ask what's new, I mean besides all that death and destruction shit."
"It is a sad time for all Mr. Kugiilii, except perhaps for those who deal in death. I often wonder if I shouldn't sell the bar and move spinward to Deneb. Despite their problems with vargr coreward and aslan rimward, they seem to have things relatively under control. Or perhaps go beyond Deneb to the wide open frontier that lies spinward of that." He looks wistful for a moment. "Ahhhh but those corsairs in Corridor would never allow it. And besides, I'd miss my customers." A smile returns to his face.
"But to answer your question, the local news broadcasts have been mentioning that merchant ships are disappearing at an alarming rate these days. I'm not talking as a result of the war, but due to pirate activity. Three ships have gone missing since your last visit here. Apparently the Vilani are experiencing the same thing. The Imperial government denies it though. They say that the Vilani are to blame." He leans in close, "I think they are lying." He returns to Shiraamer's coffee.
Simrii looks at Jum before he heads to the company table, "Who's gone missing?"
"I don't know all of the ship names. I'm sure that you can find them on the Infonet. I do recall one of them though: Always Monday. They used to frequent this place a bit."
Simrii looks about the bar carefully, but doesn't notice any one that could cause the group, or him, any obvious trouble. "I'll just have the usual Jum. Cup of tea, no sugar, no milk, bag on the side."
Jum: "Coming right up Mr. Kugiilii. I will bring it to you at the table."
Simrii nods and heads to the table.
Location: The Bridge, a bar at the Larkarda Starport (Lishun 0712)
1125.6.4 - 15:45 / 14:15 local time (18 1/2 hr day)
While Chuck is going on and on with his obvious advances towards the captain, you overhear a little bit of growling. A quick glance at Vlad and you're sure of it. It's quiet and he's doing his best to make sure it's unnoticed but, after years of working with vargr mercenaries, you know when one of them doesn't like you. Fortunately for you, it's directed at Chuck. And Gvarokh doesn't look too happy with Chuck either. You make a mental note to yourself about it but decide to keep quiet for now.
You help to make sure the others remain distracted by Chuck. You shake your head, "Chuck," you say taking another sip of his tea, "you have got to be the biggest kiss up I've ever seen. God bless you for restoring my faith in humanity and the chain of command." You laugh a moment, you've always worked in a military style chain of command and there are times when doing things the civilian way seems incredibly humorous.
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 (18 1/2 hr day)
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: Simrii, Slade, Shiraamer, & Vincent
Location: Port Turret of the Miishakaal, en route to Gishinridu
1125.6.5 - 22:30
Half an hour after Simrii started reading in the turret, Slade walks by and heads to his room. He has his back to Simrii and doesn't see him. Simrii calls out to him, "Night Slade, you come out in the black or in the red?"
Slade replies from his doorway, "Red, 8 credits."
Simrii winces, "Bad luck man, have a beer from my private stash at the back of the fridge tomorrow as a conciliation prize. It's a Honey Cream Ale, yummm..."
"Thanks, Simrii. You know, I really believe it's a small price to pay for this wonderful sense of community I share with all of you. Poker is a real team-builder!" Slade's sarcasm is quite evident.
Simrii shakes his head and chuckles, "You could have just said no to the beer you know. Besides, poker isn't about who wins and who loses, it's a social experience and next week is yet another chance to try and clean house."
Slade mumbles something unintelligible as he heads into his room.
"Pleasent dreams, Slade." Simrii goes back to reading his book.
A half hour after Slade has gone to his quarters, the click clack of the captain's heels can be heard on the deckplate.
"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."
Vincent says, "Night again cap'n."
Simrii turns his attention to Vincent, "How went the evening after I left Vincent?"
"I won one small hand but overall things continued downhill for me, and Chuck too. Lakir had one final big win. He ended up doing well tonight."
"I guess," Simrii says putting his feet back up on the workstation, "We know who's buying drinks at our next port of call." The corner of his mouth turns up in a bit of a grin.
Vincent nods his head, "Yeah." He looks at Simrii's feet then back to his face. "Well, I gotta be going to bed. Good night."
"Good night Vincent."
And with that, Vincent leaves the turret and heads to his quarters.
Characters: Slade and Simrii
Location: Miishakaal's Engine Room
1125.7.2 - 11:15
After doing some "light" reading about basic starship engineering principles, Simrii decides to talk to a real person about what he's learned. The SimTeacher just seems a bit stiff.
He pokes his head through the iris valve. The hum of machinery fills the large room. After the cargo hold, this is the largest room in the ship. Walking past the port jump drive, he spots Slade focusing intently at the consoles of the main engineering computer. He doesn't appear to notice Simrii standing there 2 meters from him.
Without looking up from the console, Slade replies monotonically, "Simrii."
Simrii smiles a bit, "I've been doing some studying on this whole engineering thing, I figure I should probably learn as much about starships as I can and the tutorial sim is more than just a little wooden. Anyway, I figured I'd come back here and speak with the Sensei of all things engineering and ask if there's anything I can do to help. My mind is an open book, but I don't do windows or paint things that hideous shade of battleship gray everyone on starships seems to love."
"Hey, well I'm just running tests, checking everything 400 times, and so on. If you want to pull up a chair and watch, that's fine with me."
Simrii finds a free rolling chair from another console and brings it over, "Teach me Obi Wan." Simrii watches Slade carefully. "Let me know about five minutes before you're ready to strangle me and I'll head back to the galley and fix something for lunch. Perhaps a spot of tea as well, nothing calms the nerves quite like tea, unless you're a woman in which case it's chocolate."
He then proceeds to ask as many annoying questions about what he's doing and how things work as the engineer can handle in a single day. Simrii notes that these tests all seem rather boring. Slade's replies to his questions are even boring and tedious. It is entirely possible that Slade is more wooden than the sim.
After about an hour, Simrii's eyes begin to glaze over. Slade's voice is a monotonic buzz in his ears. He finds it hard to concentrate and begins to nod off. He's obviously saturated with enough engineering mumbo jumbo for one day.
Simrii's stands and stretches, "Well Slade, thanks for your time. I think that'll about do it for me today."
Slade politely says, "Ok Simrii."
Simrii pats Slade on the shoulder, returns the chair from where he found it, and exits through the port hatch. He heads directly to the galley to make himself some tea.
Location: Near Engineering
1125.7.3 - 11:00
You head down to engineering for your daily dose of engineer-speak from Slade. You carry coffee for the two of you and, since you don't know how Slade likes his, enough milk and sugar to cover one man's needs (Yours is all set). You nearly bump into the iris valve as it fails to open for you.
You check the iris valve control panel. It displays the "locked" message. A scrolling marquee states, "place your palm on the pad or enter your access code." Not having an access code, you place your hand on the pad. "Access denied" flashes on the screen.
Pressing the intercom button to Engineering you hear the audible chime but there is no reply. After a minute, trying again gives the same result. With a slight shrug you take a sip of coffee and with a backwards glance at the iris valve you head back to the common room. With the common room empty you just seat yourself down, fire up the SimTeacher and slowly work you way through it and the two coffees.
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.
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."
NPC: Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha
Location: Gvarokh's quarters on Miishakaal
1125.11.7 - 18:45 Imperial Time, 11:45 Vilani Time
Simrii is the second crew member to visit with the Chief Inspector. Chuck was the first. Simrii made sure to take a nap while he waited.
As far as cops go, Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha didn't seem all that bad. No condescending tone. No veiled threats. Pretty straightforward guy.
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, Simrii 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.
Location: His stateroom on the Miishakaal, parked at the Limii Starport
1125.13.1 - 12:30 Imperial Time, 5:30 Vilani Time
Since Simrii doesn't own a PDA, he's forced to use the terminal in his room to surf the InfoNet. He calls up a star chart and looks at the route that they took to get here. He searches for news articles that mention battles fought along the route. He's hoping to find debris fields where tech level 15 starship wreckage might be prevalent.
The search results are disappointing. While there have been skirmishes all along the border between Lucan's Imperium and the Restored Vilani Empire, nothing counts as a major battle. When he broadens his search to include the rest of the two subsectors their route has traversed, he sees that there's been major fighting with the two vargr states to coreward and that it's more likely that they'll find wreckage there.
Encouraged, he looks up the regulations for salvage contracts. He can't find anything for the Imperium, but he does find that the Vilani navy is very interested in recovered salvage. Maybe too interested.
Not exactly what Simrii had in mind. On the other hand, getting a salvage operator's license doesn't appear to be difficult.