After The Poker Game
Simrii Visits Engineering
Slade Visits the Captain
Slade Meets With Gvarokh First Thing in the Morning
The Shotgun Test
Dinner - Larkarda - Gishinridu Jump Day 5
Evaluation of New FPP Parts
Interview with Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha (Sardia)
Characters: Slade and Simrii
Location: Just outside of Slade's room on the Miishakaal, en route to Gishinridu
1125.6.5 - 23:00
After two hours, Slade is done with poker for the evening. He heads back to his room to read for a bit before heading off to sleep. Just as he passes the port turret, he hears Simrii's voice emanate from the port turret room. "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.
Characters: Slade and Simrii
Location: Miishakaal's Engine Room
1125.7.2 - 11:15 4th Day of Larkarda - Gishinridu Jump
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.
Characters: Slade and Shiraamer
Location:The captain's quarters on the Miishakaal
1125.7.2 - 20:00 4th Day of Larkarda - Gishinridu Jump
The captain has just sat down with a cup of coffee and her e-book to read a novel she bought a month ago, when there's a knock at her door. She sees on the security cam that it's Slade and thinks, "That's odd. He rarely comes to visit me." Out loud she says, "Enter."
Slade enters her quarters, "I'm sorry to disturb you at this hour captain but something happened today that I felt inclined to tell you about."
Concerned, she sets down her e-book and gestures for Slade to take a seat, "What's on your mind Slade?"
Slade takes a seat, "I had a visit in engineering from Simrii today."
"Yeah, he came in saying that he'd been trying to learn engineering basics from the TeacherSim and decided that he'd rather go see me instead. He asked me several questions, nothing leading, mostly stuff about what sort of diagnostic tests I was running. I answered his questions but after an hour or so he got bored and left.
"As you've probably learned over these last four years, nobody but you, or personnel designated by you, gets closer to these engines than me. The guy gives me the creeps, but I don't want to alienate him in case I'm wrong and he's really just a weird, cool guy. And I thought that you should know too in case he has more sinister intentions."
The smile leaves Shiraamer's face as she listens to this new development. After a couple of minutes, she speaks in a low but firm voice, "You did right. Perhaps it's nothing, but out here we still have to be careful. Keep your eyes and ears open. Try not to be obvious about it," She smiles half-heartedly knowing the difficulty of that task. "It might not hurt to run some extra non-scheduled diagnostics. Keep me informed." Shiraamer pauses a bit before continuing. "For now this is between the two of us. Gvarokh will be brought in if your 'uneasiness' doesn't go away. Anything else that doesn't sit quite right with you?"
"No, that's it captain. Everything is going well. Engines are all happy and shit."
"You know," she smiles hopefully, "I don't want to lose you guys."
"I figure only a fool would think about tampering with the engines during jump, but there's a lot of ships been lost hereabouts and a paranoid fuck like me might wonder if some of them have been inside jobs by mercenary hire-ons. So I respectfully suggest that we find out if anybody has been asking about our navigational vector, maybe check the comm logs and find out if anybody sent out any personal mail in the time between when we decided on our destination and when we jumped. A real asshole like me might even look up and down the data cables on the spine, looking for splices or taps."
Slade continues, "I also suggest that when we hit normal space, somebody you trust might be quietly paying attention to what I do back there, in the off chance that somebody we don't trust is doing the same. A powerplant failure has got to be the hands-down best way to arrange the takeover of a ship. Hard to watch the engines and my back at the same time, especially without arousing suspicion. However, if anybody can do both, a cranky jerk like me can."
Shiraamer looks at Slade carefully and smiles. "I know you care about Miisha also Slade. It's been what? 4 years now youíve been with us? You keep Miisha up and running better then I had hoped for. I'll take care of this." It was clear from Shiraamer's posture that Slade was dismissed, her mind already going off on the many tangents of a captainís duties.
As he's headed to the door, Slade says, "Sometime soon I'm going to look for anything unauthorized additions/deletions/modifications to the engineering section, popping all the maintenance hatches and panels, and maybe take a crawl through the cable duct in my spare time. Without Simrii. Good night captain." With that, he exits her 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.
Characters: Gvarokh & Slade
Start Location: Slade's Quarters
1125.7.3 - 16:00
Slade is dreaming of gears. There's a buzzing sound that permeates the space. After a while he realizes that it's his door buzzer.
He shouts out, "Yeah, I'm up. I'm up. Come in." Gvarokh enters the dimly lit quarters holding three shotguns and a box of ammo. "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.
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."
NPC: Chief Inspector Khiikurshasekha
Location: Gvarokh's quarters on Miishakaal
1125.11.7 - 19:45 Imperial Time, 12:45 Vilani Time
Slade is the sixth crew member to visit with the Chief Inspector. Chuck was the first, followed by Simrii, Lakir, Vlad, and Vincent. Slade took 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, Slade told his version of what happened, but was careful to leave out the bit of sabotaging the engines to prevent their return to the planet. Slade also points out that the pirates didn't damage the ship in any way that he or his diagnostic programs have been able to find.
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 Slade thinks that he would've done the same.