Character: Darrurz and Verroel
Location: Swift Little Biter
As Swift Little Biter emerges from jumpspace, Verroel quickly monitors
the ship's systems to make sure nothing was damaged in the translation. He
brings the M-drive smoothly online and the ship begins decelerating. As passive
sensors come online they detect a mostly quiet system. There are a few small
vessels (less than 500 tons) either heading in to Ugarun or on their way out.
There is one glaring exception however: a vessel displacing 10,000 tons.
Before they can react, sensors indicate that it has active scanned their ship. Their computer has taken the data it has collected from the sensors and is reasonably certain that the large ship is a Foghoks class cruiser.
They hail you with a growl. "Attention, unidentified vessel. This is the Confederation starship, Oekhsarkhinsoerakha. Maintain current deceleration vector and prepare to be boarded. Any deviation from your present heading will be considered a hostile act and you will be destroyed."
Verroel says, "Engineering standing by, Captain, but I'd think we roll over and show our belly to this beast."
Darrurz acknowledges Verroel with a small bark and opens a comms channel to the Oekhsarkhinsoerakha. "Acknowledged Oekhsarkhinsoerakha. Maintaining current deceleration vector and preparing to be boarded. Swift Little Biter out."
He closes the external channel and then says on the internal one, "Verroel, Vuedueloghz what are we likely going to expect from the Confederation Navy? How have they treated the Touzagh in the past?"
Vuedueloghz replies, "The Confederation was originally a corsair band led by mighty Ngath himself. It is his edict that corsairs are welcome in the Confederation, provided that they don't hunt Confederation ships. The Touzagh have always abided by this rule so we should be fine.
"Uksknaghakhughz used to complain about a Confederation captain named Foeghsaerrrre. Uksknagh felt that he didn't live up to Ngath's corsair sanctuary pledge. But Uksknagh often whined when he felt disrespected."
Darrurz replies, "Well he's not whining any more."
Verroel wags his tail in agreement as Vued speaks. "Their reputation requires that they keep to the word of their pack leader. Still, whoever comes over on the shuttle will want to bite our necks to show their dominance."
Character: Darrurz and Verroel
Location: Swift Little Biter
Darrurz and Verroel watch the boarding party come aboard through the internal
monitors. As Vuedueloghz greets them, his ears go up in alert as he catches
sight of the armed men. They're all wearing combat armor and armed with ACR's
and Assault Shotguns.
"Paws up! Turn around!" one orders through his external speaker.
Vuedueloghz growls as he complies. He is padded down as other troops stand watch at both ends of the corridor.
"He's clean" is heard.
"Ok, take us up," the lead soldier says to Vuedueloghz.
Vuedueloghz climbs up the ladder to Deck Two while four soldiers, two fore and two aft, sweep the rest of Deck One.
Once up on Deck Two, the leader tells Vuedueloghz to wait. Once the four sweeping Deck One have finished and made their way up, four of the five already on Deck Two head out. They head aft to Engineering and perform a similar pat down on Verroel.
Eventually, Verroel and Vuedueloghz join Darrurz on the Bridge, accompanied by the leader and four soldiers. Darrurz can see on the monitors that four more remain on Deck Two.
"Line up on that wall, please." The leader says, indicating the wall across from the ship's locker. It's cozy.
While his pack keep their weapons pointed at the group, the leader makes his way to the controls. He accesses the ship's internal sensors. "We're good," he says aloud. The other soldiers relax, but keep their weapons pointed at the crew.
The leader then holds up a PDA to each of the trio. A light comes on, indicating that he's engaged the camera. He's silent during the process and then says, "The captain would like to meet with you aboard his ship. I'll leave crew behind to monitor your ship's decel. Nothing will happen to your ship unless the captain orders otherwise.
"Since you already have vacc suits on, please head down the ladder and board the shuttle."
The ruff on Verroel's neck stays up and his tail bristles with nervousness as the search continues. As the word comes that they are to be taken over to see the captain of the cruiser he relaxes a bit.
Darrurz is unhappy. "I'm not about to just abandon my ship having just won it, and it's not straight out of the factory. While I'm sure your men are adequate, I don't know that, I don't know them, and considering that you boarded in combat armour and are pointing weapons, I don't trust them. I'll be happy to meet your captain, I'll be happy to meet him aboard his ship, but my crew stay. If you want to leave men to watch them until I return ... fine."
The leader growls and his wolves tense up. "The captain wants to see all of you. Now, you can either lead your pack over there or we can drag your unconscious sack to him. Makes no difference to me, or the captain."
With a flip of the ears to indicate a shrug, Verroel climbs down the ladder. "Let's see your pack leader then."
Vuedueloghz attempts to talk Darrurz down, "C'mon Captain. If they ruin our ship, we'll take theirs."
Darrurz snaps at him, "And what are we going to do with a 10,000 ton Escort with only 20 tons of cargo space? We can't make any profit with that. Unless we hold merchants to ransom or steal their ships perhaps?"
Vuedueloghz backs away. His brow furrows.
Darrurz continues, "Or would that be what's happening now? No courtesy between ship's captains? No conversation at all. No request for permission to come aboard? Just boarded at the point of a gun and the crew ordered off their ship? With the threat of violence.
"We provided more than the information requested and complied with every request. I thought you said that the Ngath Confederation had a Navy. Looks like they're just corsairs to me."
Vuedueloghz says somberly, "Only pups and fools grab the tail of a wolf. And you are no pup."
Turning back to the lead Vargr, Darrurz says, "I'd like to formally request, of your Captain, permission for my Engineer to stay aboard my ship to ensure its continued safe deceleration. As that is my responsibility as Captain of this vessel."
Verroel pauses at the ladder. "The captain's right you know. She's a temperamental old gal and the controls are a bit non-standard. It'll take some familiarity to avoid problems."
The leaders barks, "No!"
Three of his vargr rush Darrurz and beat him into submission with the butts of their weapons. Vuedueloghz makes as if to help to Darrurz but the leader says, "Don't even think about it." His weapon is drawn on him.
Verroel doesn't even have a chance to flinch as the vargr closest to him has his weapon pointed at his head. "Down the ladder, please," he says through his external speaker.
A "zap" is heard and Darrurz convulses and then goes limp. Verroel and Vuedueloghz watch helplessly as all four of Darrurz's paws are ziptied. The leader goes over to the controls and presses some buttons. There's a sharp drop in gravity which makes it easier for the soldiers to carry Darrurz.
The leader says to Verroel and Vuedueloghz, "If you don't mind, my captain awaits your presence on his ship."
Verroel and Vuedueloghz comply and board the shuttle while Darrurz is carried there and placed in a seat. The shuttle then detaches from Swift Little Biter and returns to the Oekhsarkhinsoerakha.
Character: Darrurz and Verroel
NPC: Vuedueloghz and Captain Foeghsaerrrre
Location: Oekhsarkhinsoerakha, briefing room
The trio are brought to the captain's briefing room, sans helmets, and
Darrurz is dumped in a chair. A stocky, elder looking vargr wearing a uniform
with enough stripes to indicate he's the captain, says to the soldiers, "Wait
To Vuedueloghz and Verroel he says, "Sit down, please." They comply. He remains standing.
He places a paw over his chest as he introduces himself. "I am Captain Foeghsaerrrre of the Confederation starship Oekhsarkhinsoerakha. No doubt you're wondering why I've summoned you here. I've been tasked with stopping all Angrorghag class Seekers coming into Ugarun to determine their origin. You see, one week ago, the Touzagh base in the Gamgilebo system was viciously attacked and destroyed. Everyone was killed. The Touzagh are furious and have demanded that the Confederation assist them in tracking down the perpetrators of this crime.
"They particularly noted that one of their ships, which they feel should've been there at the time, may have information about the attack. Your ship was of the class of interest so we had to investigate further. Spotting the flaming eye logo on the hull meant that the likelihood of this being the vessel of interest was high. Considering that the Touzagh are a tough bunch, we had to assume that whomever was on board was even tougher, hence the coarse treatment from my wolves.
"And now, after checking your transponder, we know that this is indeed the ship of interest."
He gestures to each person as he mentions their name. "You are Verroel, chief engineer, and you are Vuedueloghz, first gunner."
Verroel bobs his snout in acknowledgement as the captain identifies him. He stays quiet as the captain speaks not wanting to disrupt what might be touchy negotiations.
Foeghsaerrrre points to Darrurz. "However, you aren't Captain Uksknaghakhughz or any of his other crew. I'd like to know who you are and how you came to take this ship from him."
Darrurz laughs as he finds the situation very amusing in a strange way. He then apologizes, "Apologies, Captain, I meant no disrespect to you. But do you not find it funny? A bunch of corsairs complaining about having a base destroyed? They are pirates. They take ships and destroy bases of other people without their permission killing anyone who gets in their way making slaves of others and steeling anything they want with no regard in any way to any law or criminal code, and then they complain when it happens to them? Not only complain but demand the Confederation Navy assist them because they can't do it themselves? That is just funny."
Foeghsaerrrre smiles. "Yes, I do find it funny. More than you know."
Darrurz laughs and whelps together as the laughing aggravates his injuries from the rough treatment aboard SLB. Darrurz apologizes again, "Sorry, Captain." He laughs again. "To answer your question, I'm Captain Darrurz of the Swift Little Biter, formerly of the Gaell Gzagvikhoe." Darrurz stops laughing and becomes very serious. His ears go back against his head and his teeth start to show. "The burn on my snout was left there by the Touzagh when they destroyed my ship and the ship of my partner, Hazel Zaanirin. They killed our entire crews, including Hazel, and left me for dead. I would have liked the Confederation Navy to have assisted me in tracking down the perpetrators of that crime, however I had to do it myself."
Foeghsaerrrre is serious himself. "Were you a Confederation citizen at the time, we could have. Corsairs that have taken to hiding in our space are not allowed to attack Confederation shipping. I am sorry for your loss." His expression is such that he appears sincere.
"But you haven't explained how you came to take the Swift Little Biter away from Uksknaghakhughz. I am quite curious to know how you accomplished this and convinced two of his crewvar to switch allegiance."
Darrurz takes a deep breath through his nose to take in the surrounding scents. It's a clean ship; well maintained. Verroel and Vuedueloghz are tense. The captain? He's all confidence.
Visibly relaxing although his left ear twitches a little, he continues, "The ship I was trader on was in the Gamgilebo system, in the belt, when during an EM storm we were attacked by the Bitter Tasting Poison From My Teeth. They thought that we would be easy prey. Well they were wrong."
Darrurz pauses for a moment and notes that he has the captain's full attention. "Now we had a couple of previous run-ins with the Touzagh, one before I was on board when they were stripped of ... well, everything, which made the crew anxious for a fight.
"Anyway, long story short, we turned Bitter Tasting Poison From My Teeth into a wreck, took her crew prisoner, boarded her and discovered that they had a base in system, counter to the wishes of the Gamgilebo system's government I might add. Well we'd had enough of dodging around the Touzagh so the Captain persuaded who was left of the crew, Kagfak and Uengghae I believe, to get us into the base. When we were in let's just say that the Touzagh weren't too pleased and the Captain let rip with the ship's turrets, including taking off one of the turrets on the Swift Little Biter.
"It's at that time I saw my opportunity to get paid on what the Touzagh owed me: a ship and a cargo. When I claimed the ship I found these two," Darrurz indicates Verroel and Vuedueloghz, "on board fixing the power plant. Verroel is a good engineer who is wasted on a corsair, and Vuedueloghz here has got good potential. I persuaded them that it was in their best interests to work for me on my ship. By the time the power plant was fixed my previous pack had completely destroyed the inside and outside of the base, exposed it to vacuum and had left. Knowing I wouldn't likely meet a very good reception from the Touzagh I did the same."
Verroel speaks up, "I can vouch for his story, Captain."
Vuedueloghz nods his head in agreement.
Captain Foeghsaerrrre walks over to Darrurz. His tail is wagging. In a flash, he pulls out a knife with one paw and grabs Darrurz's ziptied forepaws with the other. In one swift motion he slices off the bands. He does the same with his aftpaws. A large smile brightens his face. "That was the best news I've heard all year." He heads over to a mini-bar. "Would you three care to join me in a glass of Uekhfarsal?" Before anyone can reply he's already pouring some for himself.
"I can't say no to that," Vuedueloghz says, relief evident on his face.
Darrurz looks at Vuedueloghz with one ear up and one down and reveals a slight glint of his teeth. He says, "What is it with you and food and drink? Must be something to do with that bloody great frame of yours."
Vuedueloghz takes it well. He smiles. "A wolf can't live on air and freedom alone."
While laughing and trying to pat Vuedueloghz on the arm in a friendly sort of way, Darrurz winds up whinging and whimpering from his injuries. He nods and smiles to Verroel then stands up gingerly and holding back any expression of the pain that is caused. In the process he says to Captain Foeghsaerrrre, "That would be good thank you. And have you got any coffee?" Upon receiving his glass, he takes in the aroma of the Uekhfarsal.
"Feh," Foeghsaerrre says. "Coffee is a hairless drink. Ovagghog is for wolves."
Verroel's ears relax a bit and his ruff lays back down in relief as the captain decides to be friendly rather than have them spaced. He helps Darrurz to his feet and then turns to the captain. "A drink would be just the right thing, Captain."
Foeghsaerrre hands out the rest of the drinks. "If you haven't figured it out by now, I hate the Touzagh. A bunch of ruthless cutthroats. They don't care for the old ways. And it's no wonder. They're led by a foukhing hairless!" He growls for a few seconds. His grip on his glass tightens and his face scrunches up into a snarl. "But I can't touch them unless they go after a Confederation ship." He takes a deep breath to calm down. "A toast," he says, visibly brighter in demeanor. "May this be the beginning of the end of the Touzagh." He downs the contents of his glass.
Vuedueloghz drinks half and decides to savor the rest.
"Let's get a medic in here to patch you up, Captain Darrurz." Foeghsaerrre summons a medic who arrives within seconds. He gets to work on Darrurz's injuries and gives him a local anesthetic for the pain. It and the Uekhfarsal helps Darrurz relax somewhat, enabling the medic to finish his work. Before he goes, he hands Darrurz a quarter dose of medical slow drug with instructions to take it before his next nap.
After the medic leaves, Foeghsaerrre continues from his chair, "The Touzagh are waiting at the starport for their missing ship. It's a small group that came here in a courier. I don't believe that we can hide your ship from them. However, we can change its identity before you land at the starport.
"Ugarun's atmosphere is hellish. So long as the Touzagh are at the starport, they'll be blind to what happens up here. There's one satellite uplink for the starport and only Confederation personnel may access it.
"I know a wolf who solves starship identity problems. His name is Sarruero and he operates out of a station in orbit. Normally he assists corsairs and the Confederation in dealing with the hairless across the border. I warn you; he won't be cheap. The Touzagh are his customers too so in order to prevent him from selling you out, you must buy his silence. If the price for his silence proves to be too high, give me a call and I'll assist with negotiations." His smile would be menacing if you hadn't just shared Uekhfarsal together.
"There's two problems that Sarruero won't be able to fix: you and you." He points to Verroel and Vuedueloghz. "As soon as you land, those dogs will come sniffing around your ship. The moment they catch scent of you, they'll be all over you and won't give up the hunt. I won't be able to help you as it will be considered an internal Touzagh affair and thus out of my jurisdiction. My advice, Darrurz, would be to leave them at the station and find someone you can trust to help you bring the ship down."
Verroel savors the Uekhfarsal and listens to the conversation with interest. He has no desire to be back in the jaws of the Touzagh after all that has happened. "I have no desire to leave my engines in the paws of some stranger. Dyed fur and color contacts should serve to disguise me to all but a DNA or eye pattern scan." He pokes Vuedueloghz. "This one is just too big to hide no matter what color you paint him."
Vuedueloghz cocks his head at Verroel, but takes the comment in jest.
Darrurz turns to Vuedueloghz. "We could turn you into a Urzaeng?"
"Yes, well I do have the size for it. But you two are forgetting that a wolf does not rely on his eyes alone." He taps his nose. "How do you plan on masking our scent? Roll around in the ship's waste tank perhaps?"
Darrurz replies, "Hadn't forgotten." He smiles. "The waste tank has potential though."
Verroel thinks for a bit more. "There are rumors of higher tech ways of masking scent but I've never seen them in use. Still, we'll need to fumigate the ship to get our scent out of the staterooms. We can change bedding and such to help things and have a couple of crew vargr roll around in the racks. The two of us could stay at the station then, out of sight." He wags his tail, "Maybe we can find a nice female or two to keep us company."
Captain Foeghsaerrre laughs. "The women on Oekksosakhinaeg Station, where you'll find Sarruero, won't keep you company our of the kindness of their hearts."
Turning to Captain Foeghsaerrre, Darrurz says, "Captain, if you would point us at Sarruero, I'd be grateful, and then we will be on our way."
"Fair enough. I'll have my navigator scratch them down on something for you. Just remember, once you go dirtside, local law enforcement takes over. I won't be able to help you."
He shakes everyone's paws and orders the guards to return you to your ship.
Character: Darrurz and Verroel
Location: Swift Little Biter
Everyone is back on Swift Little Biter, which is parked in orbit over
Ugarun. The Oekhsarkhinsoerakha shuttle is on its way back to the mother
ship. A cursory examination of the SLB reveals everything is as you left it.
Internal system scans indicate everything is normal. The computer reports that
the decel maneuver went without incident.
Darrurz has the coordinates for the space station where Sarruero resides.
Down in Engineering, Verroel sniffs suspiciously around and then calls up to the Bridge. While he doesn't detect anything, paranoia leads to a psychosomatic reaction. "They didn't break anything but the stink of the intruders is heavy on my equipment. We are go for setting a course to the station, Captain. I say we get this over with and shake this system clear of our fur."
Darrurz acknowledges Verroel with a grunt and drives the ship over to the vaguely named Ugarun-82, the orbital station where Sarruero is supposed to dwell.
Ugarun-82 is a simple spoke and hub design. While this station utilizes grav plates, in an emergency it can be induced to spin. Once the SLB is close enough, the computer indicates that it has received automated telemetry from the station. It states that the central hub is a landing bay for ships while the ring is where the station's inhabitants live and conduct their business. The central hub can hold ships up to 1,000 tons displacement. Docking is also possible between the spokes on either side of the central hub, but only one ship per space is permitted. There are no docking ports that link directly to the habitat ring. Access to the habitat ring is through the spokes.
On approach, the passive sensors display a visual of the station. The doors to the central hub are closed but the lights are on.
Verroel watches the approach from a remote station down in the engine room. "Preparing for docking captain." He starts preparing the hotel service connections for docking so that they can take on power, fuel and data plus refresh their life support.
Darrurz comments, "Not overly friendly," and opens a channel to the space station. "Good Evening, anyone awake?"
A male human voice answers, "This is station Ugarun-82. How can we be of service?"
Verroel chuffs. "At least they aren't shooting at us. Yet."
Darrurz replies, "I'm looking for Sarruero, please connect me through."
There's a pause. "I don't handle personal calls, sir. If you'd like to dock at the station and then go looking for him among the three hundred residents and guests that are here, you're free to do so."
Verroel chuffs again with a bit of humor in his voice as he listens to the conversation. His tail wags a bit as he sits at his engineering console. He says, "Let's hope they have a comm link listing."
Darrurz replies to the human, "Oh! We're new here so I'm a little unsure of the niceties. What are your procedures and costs for docking, and is there a directory of residence that I could get hold of somewhere?"
"Well, if you need to dock, you just hail us and ask if we have the room, inside or out. Docking is 100 Imperial or Confederation credits per Ugarun day, unless you're bringing us supplies, then it's free. Some of the merchants operating out of the station offer parking vouchers, but you'll have to check with them.
"We don't offer access to the residence directory unless you have a warrant. I don't mean to sound rude but our residents value their privacy. That's a perk for paying their annual dues to the station.
"There's a services directory, which you can access for 50 credits, again Imperial or Confederation.
"But if who or what you're looking for isn't listed, you'll just have to find them, or it, the old fashioned way - asking around.
"So, do you still want to dock and come aboard?"
On the internal comm, Verroel says, "They sound civilized enough."
Darrurz replies, "Seems that way. Verroel you'll be on port watch. Vuedueloghz you're with me." Returning to the external comm, his ears come up and he smiles. "Love to. Give me a course and the procedures you would like me to follow and I'll be there in a jiffy."
"Roger that. We'll open the hangar doors. Just come in and park at the spot closest to the exit. Once you come to a complete stop and your engines are powered down, just comm 'Operations' and we'll go from there. Ugarun-82 out."
Darrurz notices that the station's doors are opening.
Verroel and Vuedueloghz arrive on the Bridge.
Verroel growls. "I'll keep the ship safe. Bring me back some curry spice beef stew if you can find any. The food on the ship has been awfully bland."
Darrurz blinks. "And there was me thinking your cooking was quite good! If you want to put a list together of ingredients that we should go looking for and give it to Vuedueloghz I'll see if there is anything we can pick up for you."
Vuedueloghz cocks his head to the side. "What are you barking about, Verroel? Your cooking has been great! You always know what spices to add to intensify the flavor in our food."
Verroel ignores Darrurz and Vuedueloghz.
Darrurz shrugs and flies the ship into the flight deck. There are three other vessels present: two on the starboard side and one to port. Darrurz parks near the one to port.
Next: On Ugarun-82