Jump to Ugarun: (Day 1)

Character: Darrurz and Verroel
NPC: Vuedueloghz
Location: Swift Little Biter
System: Jumpspace between Gamgilebo and Ugarun

1126.7.6 - 17:30 Imperial Time, 25:30 Vilani Time

Darrurz arrives in the makeshift galley in the mining drone bay.

"Good morning, Captain!" Verroel says with cheer as he adds the finishing touches of seasonings to breakfast.

"Verroel doubles as our cook," Vuedueloghz offers. He's finishing up his meal.

"Among other things," Verroel adds. He hands a plate to Darrurz who joins Vuedueloghz at their table.

"My complements to the chef," Darrurz says between mouthfuls of ghakh.

"Thank you," Verroel says. "More?"

"Yes, please!"

Vuedueloghz says, "Good food is about the only thing that gets me through jumps. It is unfortunate that Swift Little Biter isn't swifter in jumpspace.

"But we can't eat the whole time so what do you have planned for us, Captain?"

Darrurz explains that he wants to do an inventory of the equipment on the entire ship, as well as its small craft. And if there's anything lacking he wants to know that as well. "I'll add it to our shopping list for when we reach Ugarun."

1126.7.7 - 3:00 Imperial Time, 3:00 Vilani Time

After several hours of inventory (more for thoroughness than anything else), here's what the crew found on board:

Darrurz puts one of the holocrystals into his hand computer and activates the first recording onto a handy ship's monitor for all to see. "Well, she's good looking." After tilting his head slightly to the left, his ears go up. He sniffs the air and his tail moves a little. "Interesting technique." Once he stops the playback his ears return to a more neutral position and his tail stills. "Do either of you want these?"

Both vargr laugh.

Vuedueloghz says, "I'm content with my stash."

Verroel says, "I prefer the real thing."

Darrurz picks up the ex-captain's PDA and tries to access it. Unfortunately, he can't bypass the lockout. He gives it to Vuedueloghz saying, "Get me access to this. Oh and by the way have you managed to get command codes back for yourself and Verroel?"

"No, I haven't tried. After you unlocked Engineering, it was all we needed to get the Swift Little Biter going. Later, you unlocked navigation. After our 'conversation' in the hangar, I felt it was too soon to do anything that might be interpreted as a challenge to your authority. So are you granting permission for us to have total access or just granting us our old permission status?

Darrurz looks at both of them. "What? You didn't have full access? How did you do your jobs?"

Both vargr shrug. Verroel says, "We did them the best we could considering the circumstances. Corsair captains tend to have 'control issues.'"

Darrurz replies, "The stories of corsair captains getting challenged all the time must be true! There must be so many potential captains out there who never got the chance because they weren't the size of," Darrurz indicates Vuedueloghz, "well, you."

Vuedueloghz smiles.

"We'll talk about this later, but yes I'd assumed you would need full access to do your jobs."

Darrurz brings up the inventory list onto the monitor. "We're short on medical supplies. Have either of you had medical training?"

Both reply negative.

"And we are short on rescue balls, and comdots/multiplexors. I have to say they are so much easier than using a handheld unit." He points to the communicators. "We'll need something with a bit better range as well."

Both look at one another. Verroel says, "I didn't know they made commdots for vargr. I always thought it was something that the pinkies lorded over us as a racial advantage."

It's Darrurz time to laugh. "Racial Advantage?" Laughing more. "That's a good one. Tell me another one." He stops himself and then seriously says, "Humans don't think they are better than us. They just have different ways of doing things. Sometimes their way is better. Sometimes our way is better. And when Vargr and Humans work together the results can be spectacular. Just look at the Touzagh."

Both vargr nod, obviously seeing his point.

Darrurz continues, "Filter and Combination masks are missing, cold weather clothing, survival equipment, vacc suit patches are short." He stops and looks up and asks no one in particular, "Well what did I expect? She was a corsair not a trader."

Both vargr nod. Vued says, "Exactly. We didn't do much ground work."

Darrurz looks at Verroel and Vuedueloghz. "I'll come up with a list. If either of you think that there is anything that you will need to your jobs, or if there is anything you would like to do your jobs then let me know after you've looked over the list."

"A pretty, young assistant would be nice," Verroel says with a smile.

Vued feigns being insulted. "What? I'm not pretty enough for you?"

"Not by a long shot," Verroel replies.

Both vargr burst out laughing.

Darrurz rolls his eyes. "I'll meet you for dinner in an hour."

Jump to Ugarun: (Day 1 Dinner Convesation)

Character: Darrurz and Verroel
NPC: Vuedueloghz
Location: Swift Little Biter
System: Jumpspace between Gamgilebo and Ugarun

1126.7.7 - 4:30 Imperial Time, 4:30 Vilani Time

Darrurz arrives in the makeshift galley and is greeted by the fresh scent of seasoned steak.

Verroel cautions him, "Don't get too used to it. I've been cooking up the good stuff today as the start of a new pack is worth celebrating."

Vuedueloghz says, "You still do a good job with the canned goods, Verroel."

Verroel replies, "Thank you, hungry wolf." To Darrurz he adds, "Engineers don't have much to do while in jump so to pass the time I learned how to cook."

Vuedueloghz teases him, "Everyone in his old pack died from his mistakes so he was forced to join the Touzagh."

Verroel laughs.

Vuedueloghz hands Darrurz the ex-captain's PDA. It seems a little worse for wear. "Here you go, sir. It may not work as well as before. I had to crack it open to break the security protocols. Don't put anything of value on there. I trust that you have your own equipment for that. But you'll be able to read what our former captain put on there."

"Thank you, Vued." He takes a complete snapshot of the captain's PDA and transfers it to the main computer and then puts it down. "We'll look at that one later."

As he starts to eat his steak, blood runs down the side of his snout. He licks it up, then says, "Fantastic!"

Verroel bows in acknowledgement of the complement.

Darrurz takes another bite and asks Verroel, "So how does a decent engineer become a corsair then?"

Verroel takes a bite of his own and gazes upward, pondering his answer. "People assume that one can only learn how to steal and kill in the corsairs. This isn't true. One can pick up valuable skills just as one would if one were to be in the military or become a mercenary. The difference lies in their focus. The military is all about servicing the whims of politicians. Mercenaries serve their clients. Corsairs serve themselves.

"On my world, I had a choice. I could either join the Ngath Navy and go to the training academy and follow lots of rules and read textbooks or I could join the Vurrghadoukfoun, the local corsair group, and learn how to be an engineer out in the field while adventuring across the galaxy!" He pauses before saying in a more sober tone, "Such is the folly of youth.

"After sixteen years, I have little to show for it save a bunch of stories to tell my grandpups, that is provided I ever get around to having pups of my own."

Darrurz replies, "Well you aren't going to find a stay-at-home-raise-the-pups kind of mate on corsairs now are you?"

Verroel smiles.

Darrurz continues, "Maybe the odd emissary, maybe a contingency expert, and loads of all action up for the job bitches, but no one who you really want to settle down with.

"Now the ship that blew much of the base to bits had one of the best engineers that I have ever come across. Paranoid as well ... a paranoid human can be, but he'd forgotten more about engineering than most sophonts will ever know, and you ... from what I can see you come up to the mark and pass it. But without any type recognized qualifications you're not going to be able to get a job that will earn enough to be able to raise a litter or two. Think on that for a time, because you never know, you might be as bored as hell after a few weeks as a trader, and pine for the adventure of the corsair."

Darrurz eats more of the steak. "This really is good."

Verroel says, "Maybe, I should become a chef and open a restaurant."

Vuedueloghz cracks his knuckles. "And I'll make sure everyone pays."

They both laugh.

Darrurz steers the conversation towards the bulkier vargr. "So Vuedueloghz what about you? Did the adventuring life of the corsair call to you straight out of school, or did you get recruited in some fashion?" Darrurz takes another bite with some stewed fruit and licks his lips.

"The hunter's life called to me at a young age. I tested well on a gunnery simulator sponsored by the Ungsoukhskaeg. They offered me a position and some formal training and I leapt at the chance. But like my packmate here, my skills kept me locked in my position. Gunners were in short supply so they didn't want to promote the wolf and lose his teeth. They had enough of those. They bribed me training in other areas but I knew it was over. I'd hoped that the Touzagh would've been different but they were worse." He scowls. "I hope that makes my challenge easier to understand. I can't follow another toothless old dog or a feeble runt. I've done that for long enough. Keep that fire you showed me in the hangar bay and we'll get along just fine."

Darrurz looks at Vuedueloghz and then says, "When I lost the Gaell Gzagvikhoe, and my friend Hazel Zaanirin, I thought my life was over. I saw all my work, all my efforts taken from me by those who didn't deserve the air from my Vacc suit. And why? Because they were twice the size of my ship. Because they had twice the crew. And because they had twice the firepower. It made them think they were powerful and full of charisma. Look at what they had achieved! Look at their victory!" He pauses. "Their charisma was an illusion, like you see with the actors on stage. The ones who play the high charisma princes or the governors. Fake. They had beaten someone half their size. Vuedueloghz if you wanted this ship now you could take it. You are twice my size, and you could easily beat me, or kill me if that is what you wanted, and I couldn't stop you. You would have a victory! you would have the ship! But what would you really have?

"My last ship, the one that trashed the base? Now before I was a crew member they were raided by one of the Touzagh. An Enkongsuerrgvo class packet if I remember the story correctly. It stripped them of everything. But that wasn't the end of them. They got back up, they made a lot of money, mainly because of me, they got re-armed and determined. That ship, an imperial merchant, Garu class, is responsible for the elimination of four Touzagh vessels so far, three destroyed and one," Darrurz indicates the Swift, "defected, along with the destruction of a Touzagh base. That's real determination. That's real worth. That's real Charisma.

"When they took a beating they didn't pine in the corner licking their wounds complaining to the Universe in general about how unfair it all was. They picked themselves up and they got on with the job, and they made it happen.

"That mixed Vargr Human crew of misfits and runaways taught me, a Vargr Merchant Captain, what REAL Charisma is, and I'm NEVER going to forget it!

"I'm a trader and that's what I plan to do. It's the same, hard work, week after week. Shifting freight, maintaining the ship, and playing the markets. Sometimes you take a loss, but sometimes you make a fortune.

"So Vuedueloghz think hard about what you want, who you are, and who you are prepared to follow. Because I'm not big enough to stand up in a fight. The Swift isn't big enough either. If you want quick victories, easy money and fake bravado then you're better off back in the corsairs. All I offer is hard work, long jumps, and the satisfaction of knowing your own worth."

He eats the last piece of steak on his plate and wipes the blood off his scar. "Thank you, Verroel. That really was very good. I'll leave you both with your thoughts for tonight. Good Night."

"Good night, Captain," they both say.

Darruz picks up the PDA and heads for his cabin. He'll save the bottle of Uekhfarsal for tomorrow, and go to bed.

Jump to Ugarun: (Day 2)

Character: Darrurz and Verroel
Location: Swift Little Biter
System: Jumpspace between Gamgilebo and Ugarun

1126.7.7 - 16:00 Imperial Time, 16:00 Vilani Time

After yesterday's inventory tally, Darrurz instructs Verroel and Vuedueloghz where he'd like stuff to be kept. While that is underway he composes a shopping list of the things he feels the ship needs and shows it to Verroel and Vuedueloghz.

1 Carpentry Tool Set
16 Rescue Balls (5 for the locker and 1 for each cabin, and 1 for the bridge, 1 for the Ship's Boat bridge, 5 for the Ships Boat)
2 Hand Thrusters (1 for the Ship's Boat, 1 for the locker)
2 Communicators 50,000km (1 for the Ship's Boat, 1 for the locker)
7 Communicators 5,000km (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)
7 Comm Dots and Multiplexors (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)
7 Filter Masks with goggles and various cartridges (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)
7 Combination Masks with various cartridges (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)
1 Med Kit (for the Ship's Boat)
2 Med Scanners (1 for the Ship's Boat, 1 for the locker)
1 Med Computer (for the locker)
3 First Aid Kits (1 for the Ship's Boat, 2 for the locker)
1 Atmosphere Tester (for the Ship's Boat)
1 Radiation Counter (for the Ship's Boat)
2 Packs of Vacc Suit Patches (1 for the Ship's Boat, +1 for the locker)
3 Flash Lights (1 for the Ship's Boat, 2 for the locker)
2 Cold Light Lanterns (+2 for the locker)
2 Electronic Binoculars (1 for the Ship's Boat, 1 for the locker)
2 Magnetic Compass (1 for the Ship's Boat, 1 for the locker)
2 Hi Tech Compass (1 for the Ship's Boat, 1 for the locker)
100m of Hi-tech rope (for the Ship's Boat)
7 Sets of Cold Weather Clothing (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)
7 Desert Survival kits (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)
4 Survival kits (2 for the Ship's Boat, 2 for the locker)
2 Emergency Beacons (1 for the Ship's Boat, 1 for the locker)
4 Flare Guns with various colour flares (2 for the Ship's Boat, 2 for the locker)
7 Sleeping Bags (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)
7 Tarpaulins (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)
7 Boxes of Water Purification Tables (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)
2 Hydro Collectors (1 for the Ship's Boat, 1 for the locker)
4 Ice Axes (2 for the Ship's Boat, 2 for the locker)
7 Water Filtration Units (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)
5 Personal Re-entry Kits with auto pilot (for the locker)
2 Advanced Combat Rifles with clips and various ammunition as expressed by Verroel and Vuedueloghz
5 TL8 9mm autopistols with 16 clips (15 rounds each ) of DS ammo (2 for the Ship's Boat, +3 for the locker)
7 Hatchets (2 for the Ship's Boat, 5 for the locker)

On the "couch" in the "galley," Darrurz nips his lower arm with his teeth to relieve an itch as he pulls a copy of the information on the old Captain's PDA onto his hand computer to look at. Before he does however he says, "Verroel. I've been chewing over what you said last night," with which he pulls up a copy of the Imperial Merchant's 4th Officer Certification Requirements and textbook from his handcomputer onto a ship's monitor. Darrurz sniffs Verroel's scent to gauge his reaction as he tilts his head slightly to the left. His left ear goes up when he continues, "I've no doubts about you passing it, especially on the Engineering track, but what are your thoughts?"

Verroel flips his ears back a bit as he considers the hassle of Imperial certification records. "These pieces of paper that the humans are so fond of have no charisma to them. But they nip at our feet and block our trail if we lack their silly certifications. I'll gnaw the requirements and pass their test; have no doubt. We'll also need to work to meet their shipboard maintenance and safety requirements. That will wear my claws down to nubs."

Darrurz replies, "That piece of paper will get you a job pretty much anywhere in chartered space. Maybe not with the Corsairs, but the major Vargr merchant lines know what they mean, and any Captain worth his fur will too."

Verroel snaps his jaw in reluctant agreement. "I'll paper the walls of my den with these certificates if I must."

With a slightly toothy smile Darrurz's tail wags against the couch as he says, "And those safety requirements will give you an opportunity to teach Vuedueloghz his way around the drives and power plants so he pass them as well."

Verroel wags his tail a bit as he anticipates bossing around the third Vargr on the ship. "Oh, I'll put Vuedueloghz to work..."

His ears flick forward as he opens up his own PDA. "The list is a good start. I would add a few RAM grenades for the ACR's if we can manage and a good electronic and mechanical repair kit. The tools onboard are a bit of a shambles unfortunately."

"OK, I'll put them on the list."

Verroel walks off to begin studying the Imperial Merchant's 4th Officer Certification Requirements while Darrurz opens a copy of the corsair captain's PDA data to have a look through.

An Assignment for Vuedhueloghz

Character: Darrurz and Verroel
Location: Swift Little Biter Bridge
System: Jumpspace between Gamgilebo and Ugarun

1126.7.7 - 16:30 Imperial Time, 16:30 Vilani Time

Darrurz summons Vuedueloghz to the Bridge. He arrives shortly thereafter.

"Yes, Captain."

"Vuedueloghz, I have a job for you." He tosses the porno holocrystals to Vuedueloghz, who catches them with ease. "Erase the contents of these holocrystals and download the Swift's logs onto them and the data from Uksknaghakhughz's PDA. I want to clear the ship's logs but I still want access to the data should we need it."

He nods. "Not a problem. Shall I do it here and now or do you want me to wait until you are done with the Bridge?"

"Now, unless you're in the middle of something."

"I am not." Vuedueloghz sits down at one of the consoles.

Darrurz asks Vuedueloghz, "Have you read 'Sun Tzu'?"

"No, I haven't."

"He was a Solomani general from their Pre-Stellar days. He wrote a book called 'The Art of War' about 500 years before General Nigukfoel of Lair wrote his book 'WAR!' and while they both have a similar analysis on the effectiveness of tactics on the field Sun Tzu gives far more in-depth analysis to everything that you need to be able to prosecute a war, logistics, morale, espionage, which Nigukfoel completely neglects. I have copies of both. Interested?"

Vuedueloghz's ears perk up and his tail wags. "Yes!"

Darrurz sends a copy of both through to the ship's library and points to the completed download on the screen. "Download them when you have a minute. When you read 'Sun Tzu' remember it's from the Human prospective and think about how that might differ from ours. Also think about it as a philosophy than can be applied to other aspects of life. Like Business and Trading, not just war."

Vuedueloghz nods, clearly filing that bit of advice for later.

"Oh and Vuedueloghz, I'm not Uksknaghakhughz. I'm a Trader not a Corsair. I don't need to hold myself apart from the pack to lead it. I enjoy the company of others just like every normal Vargr."

Vuedueloghz's tail wags. "That is good! Then we'll be a pack instead of just a bunch of wolves drinking from the same lake."

After the conversation Darrurz pulls up his Navigational instruction course.

About fifteen minutes later, Vuedueloghz finishes backing up the logs on the holocrystals and informs Darrurz. He takes his leave of Darrurz to go to his quarters and read.

Study Break

Character: Verroel
NPC: Vuedueloghz
Location: Swift Little Biter - Verroel's quarters
System: Jumpspace between Gamgilebo and Ugarun

1126.7.7 - 19:00 Imperial Time, 19:00 Vilani Time
Verroel is in his quarters studying the Imperial Merchant's 4th Officer Certification Requirements with his door open when Vuedueloghz strolls by and stops in. His ears are flat against his head.

Verroel looks up from his studies. "Vued, my packmate, is all well?"

"Yes, Darrurz asked me to back up the ship's logs onto some holocrystals and clear them from the main computer. He actually let me stay on the Bridge with him while I did it, unlike Uksknaghakhughz (...OOC: That was the name of your former captain...). And when I was done he suggested I read a book by a human named Sun Tzu. 'The Art of War' he called it." He chuckles. "I think the only thing that Uksknaghakhughz suggested I read was repair manuals.

"Maybe I shouldn't get my hopes up but we might finally have a pack." His tail wags a bit. "This Darrurz, despite his size, seems to know how to lead. He's certainly better than Uksknaghakhughz."

Verroel wags his tail in agreement. "Darrurz does seem to think more grandly than Ukskna. It bodes well that we might all gain more charisma if we can build up a larger, more successful pack."

"Yes!" Vued's ears perk up. "What are you reading?"

Verroel growls and taps his claw on the hardened plastic case of his PDA. "Prey! It's a flat-face officer's certification study guide. The humans put their store in paper certifications in place of charisma and pack leadership. But since we are headed to deal with them we'd best hunt as they hunt."

"Yes, I suppose me must," Vued replies.

Verroel grins with teeth showing and his tongue lolling out. "And we have to fix up a few things on the ship to meet the flat-face safety regulations. You and I have some work to do before we come out of Jump."

"We're not on the pinkies' worlds just yet. Ugarun is still Confederation territory. But yes, a wolf can't bite with rotten teeth."

Next: Arrival at Ugarun