Characters: Verroel, Darrurz (via comm)
NPC: Vuedueloghz (via comm)
Location: Swift Little Biter - docked at Ugarun-82
Verroel searches through the station's network in an effort to find new filters
and scrubbers for life support. His search comes up empty. He tries every
permutation he can think of but nothing. This boggles his mind.
Verroel growls in frustration. He calls Darrurz, "Darrurz, the station network doesn't seem to have any life support supplies available which is strange. It may require sniffing them out in person. When you get back I want to go out and see what I can hunt."
"Ok," Darrurz replies and hangs up.
A minute later the comm chimes. Vuedhueloghz is on the line.
"Darrurz says you want to go out looking for life support supplies."
"How about asking Sarruero? He seems to have his paw on the pulse of this station. If anyone would know where to find stuff it would have to be him."
Darrurz pipes up after hearing half the conversation and through Vuedhueloghz's comm. "If he's going to call Sarruero about lifesupport supplies, he should ask about cleaning the ship as well."
Verroel replies, "I'll do that. Pass me his comm code and we'll see what that wolf can do for us."
Darrurz pauses. His ears flop. "I'm afraid that I can't. He never gave it to me."
Verroel asks, "How are we supposed to get in touch with him then?"
Vuedhueloghz answers, "He said he and a crew were coming by at three. I guess we have to wait until then."
NPC: Vuedueloghz (via comm)
Location: Swift Little Biter - docked at Ugarun-82
Realizing that Darrurz overheard him while he was talking to Vuedhueloghz,
Verroel opts to text Vued instead. Verroel thinks carefully and sends his text.
"Vued, it's time to stop following that crazy wolf. You saw how he acted when we
were boarded. We all could have been killed. His megalomania will get us all
killed or kicked to the side walk with nothing but dry bones. Then he brings
this new one aboard to usurp our places. I intend to challenge him for
leadership and will take us both to success without craziness."
Vued texts back, "U R right about boarding. New guy not threat to me. Might b ally. How do u plan on challenge?"
Verroel replies, "Need to talk to new guy. Will challenge D after speaking to new guy."
On the walk back to the spoke elevator, Darrurz notices Vued using his PDA.
Vued says, "I'm trying to find a hotel to stay at while you're gone. I'd ask you but you don't know this place any better than I do."
Vued asks, "Is there anything you want us to do while you're gone? Besides stay out of trouble."
Darrurz replies, "Just keep your nose in the air, and make sure you don't run into any of your old pack."
Vued laughs. "I'd rather shave off my fur than meet up with them again."
"And read the books that I gave you."
"Will there be a test when you get back?"
Before Darrurz can reply, Vued starts laughing. "I'm just pulling your tail. I'll start reading them."
Characters: Darrurz, Verroel
Location: Swift Little Biter parked in Ugarun-82
Darrurz and Vuedhueloghz have returned to the ship. Darrurz checks the clock and
notes that they have an hour before Sarruero's crew arrives.
Before Darrurz can give the order, Vuedhueloghz says, "Hey, Verroel! Pack your things. We're staying in a hotel for the weekend. I've found a nice one with a view of Ugarun." He chuckles.
"A luxury hotel? Very good and a view is even better. At least we can be comfortable while cooling our jets." Verroel chuckles.
The comm buzzes to announce the arrival of Sarruero's crew, a group of eight
consisting of six vargr and two humans. The leader of the group is a vargr. He
introduces himself as Uthgoer.
"Captain Darrurz? Great to meet you, sir. Before we begin there's the matter of the down payment. I understand that it's 25,000 credits." He pulls out a card reader. Darrurz recognizes that it's an Imperial brand. "If you'd be so willing as to swipe your bankcard for the amount, we'll get started."
"Uthgoer, I need to contact Sarruero what's his comm?"
Uthgoer frowns. "Just a moment." He whips out his comm and talks into it. "Client needs to talk to you. Don't know. Didn't ask." He hands his comm over to Darrurz.
Sarruero's voice is on the other end. "Yes, Darrurz?"
"Sarruero, we've had difficulty finding a cleaning crew and life support supplies on the station. Can you help?"
"Yes and no. I've got a cleaning crew. Just let me know what you need cleaned. But as for life support supplies, you're out of luck."
"It was the price this station had to pay to remain independent. You see, when the Ngath Confederation annexes a system they bite down hard and insist on total control. Resistance isn't tolerated. Queen Anmaa saw the claw marks in the dirt and chose statehood rather than have her people slaughtered by corsairs. While she's kept on a leash, there's a lot of slack in the chain.
"The owners of this station negotiated along a similar track. They insisted that Ugarun-82 was worth more to the Confederation as a free trade zone than to be held in check by a military choke collar. Although the Confederation was suspicious, they allowed it, provided that the station gave up its business in certain strategic areas. The two big ones that concern you are fuel and life support supplies. These have to be handled by the starport down on Ugarun. Violation of that agreement will cost this station its freedom."
"Down to Ugarun it is then. As for the cleaning crew I need the ship and boats cleaned inside and out. How soon can you get the crew here and how much will it cost?"
"I can have the cleaning crew there in 30 minutes. Cost is 10 credits per ton of displacement so that makes 2,000 credits for the ship. The launch you mentioned at lunch will be 200. And if you still have the ship's boat that comes with an Angrorghag class Seeker, then that's 300."
"Ship, launch and ship's boat yes. Do you want me to pay Uthgoer here or the crew direct?"
"Please pay Uthgoer."
Darrurz hands Uthgoer back his comm and gets out his bankcard for the down payment to Uthgoer. He also makes a note about the expense on his handcomp.
"Thank you," Uthgoer says to Darrurz. "We're good to go," he says over the comm. There's a low pitched clunk that's felt more than heard. To Darrurz he says, "Don't panic. We're sectioning off your ship from the hangar bay so we can pump in some air. It'll enable us to work freely and privately, if you catch my meaning. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my pack."
Following the conversation with Sarruero and Uthgoer, Darrurz says to Verroel and Vuedhueloghz, "You've got 20 minutes to get all your personal possessions and yourselves off the ship before the cleaning crew get's here. Don't leave anything behind."
Vuedhueloghz answers, "Aye. You don't have to tell me twice."
Verroel wags his tail in assent. He heads to pack his gear in a pair of compact bags. He calls out, "What's the law level on the station?"
Vuedhueloghz answers, "Don't know. I went out with my pistol and no one bothered me. Had to leave it with the coat check at the restaurant but they gave it back when I left."
"Then I'm going to bring mine too."
Characters: Darrurz, Verroel, Fi Khong
Location: Swift Little Biter parked in Ugarun-82
Verroel and Vuedhueloghz have finished packing (with time to spare) and have
their stuff at the air lock and are preparing to disembark.
The air lock is open to the docking arm and a lone vargr with a sack full of gear is trodding down the corridor.
Verroel asks Vuedhueloghz, "Is that him?"
Verroel wags his tail and shouts to Darrurz, who is in the cargo bay watching the workers utilize the bay hatches for ease of access with their equipment, "Fi Khong is here."
Fi sniffs the air. "Permission to come aboard."
Darrurz has shown up now. "Permission granted."
Fi sniffs the air tentatively again. "I see the cleaners haven't been yet. The ship certainly has that... homely smell about it."
Since the cleaning crew hasn't shown up yet, Verroel offers to show Fi Khong to his quarters.
Darrurz says, "Yes, Verroel you may. Fi Khong get settled and then I'll get you acquainted with the ship."
Verroel dips his head and wags his tail in greeting. "I'm Verroel, the chief engineer."
"Greetings, Verroel. I am a fine medic and general dab around a ship. Can turn my paws to anything in a pinch."
"Let me show you to your quarters. Do you need help with your gear?"
Fi looks down at his baggage. "This luggage has been with me a long time, so it is of little burden. But thank you for the offer. Please, lead the way."
Verroel walks over to the ladder and climbs up to the second deck.
Fi dips his head to Darrurz. "It is pleasant to see you again. I shall stow my baggage and then we shall see this fine vessel of yours." Fi picks up his bags and follows Verroel (future link to "Verroel's Private Tour").
Once they're gone, Vuedueloghz chuckles. "He's so happy to have someone new in the pack he's acting like a pup.
Characters: Verroel, Fi Khong
Location: Swift Little Biter parked in Ugarun-82
Verroel leads Fi up to his stateroom, which is sandwiched between Verroel's and
Vuedhueloghz's. Fi stows his gear under his bed and take in the stateroom. "Not
the best of quarters I have had, but by no means the worse."
Verroel wriggles his ears in the Vargr equivalent of a shrug. "She's an older ship but a good one." He wags his tail as he changes the subject. "We can use a good medic in this business. It is good to have you aboard Fi." He sniffs. "I like the pack smell."
Verroel continues on with the tour, showing Engineering, the makeshift galley, and the Bridge. Fi nods as he takes in the layout of the ship.
Along the way, and interspersed with pointing out the ship's details, Verroel explains the situation on board the ship.
"Fi, we are glad to have you aboard but you've come at a time when the pack leadership is going to change. I am going to challenge Darrurz for the leadership shortly. I have Vued's support and would like yours too, or at least your neutrality. Darrurz is an unstable and dangerous leader who does not allow his packmates proper freedom to grow in charisma. He almost had us all killed when he fought against the system defense boarding party upon our arrival in system. It was humiliating to see him cuffed and beaten like a cur instead of dealing with the military from a position of pride.
"You are new to all of this and I am sorry to have your first day aboard be involved in a leadership challenge. I can offer you stable leadership and a chance to be part of a more prosperous mission than we would have had under Darrurz."
Fi shuffles his feet and scratches behind his ear. "I see." He pauses in thought for a while. "You are correct. I am new to this pack and do not know the previous comings and goings." Fi scratches the back of his ear again. The scar there only seemed to itch in new situations. "I will not stand in your way and will support whoever leads the pack at the time. If you lead, I will follow."
Verroel wags his tail at the response. "I thank you for your neutrality. The pack must have the strongest leader possible to prosper. The rule of the strongest leader is the strength of our people."
Fi nods at Verroel's wise words.
Character: Darrurz, Verroel, Fi Khong
Location: Common Area of the Swift Little Biter parked in Ugarun-82
Darrurz and Vuedueloghz have spent the time watching Uthgoer's pack diligently
going about their work.
Verroel's voice comes over the comm, "I'll need the credit information and contact details while we are here in the Starport hotel and I want to make sure we have our stories straight. Can you meet Fi and me in the Common Area?"
Darrurz looks at Vuedueloghz for a moment before replying "Yes, we'll be there in a moment." He checks that Vuedueloghz is still wearing his pistol.
Darrurz and Vuedheuloghz make their way to the common area. They find Verroel
and Fi Khong standing there facing the entrance. They are two meters apart.
Verroel has his pistol drawn but pointed at the floor.
Darrurz barks, "Verroel, explain!"
Verroel takes a couple steps forward. His tail is stiff behind him in a dominant arch while his hackles raise up. He growls, showing teeth in an aggressive snarl even as his muzzle wrinkles back. "You're not fit to lead this pack any longer and I challenge your right as alpha! Your stupidly stubborn and aggressive behavior during the boarding by the warship endangered all of us and your continued actions are no better. You hog all the glory to yourself and starve your packmates in dull inaction. Stand down!"
Not wishing to get caught in the crossfire, Vuedhueloghz puts a hand on his holstered pistol and slowly moves away from Darrurz. He watches the battle for supremacy with keen interest.
Fi steps out of the way and crosses to Vuedhueloghz. "You want to wager on the outcome? I have 50 credits that says I have to patch them both up."
Vuedueloghz grunts. "You're probably right."
Darrurz looks at Verroel in what might be an amused expression. In fact you might think that he's about to laugh. But he doesn't. He seems to calm down considerably and grow a little taller. His head tilts slightly to the left as he looks at Verroel. "You need to be packed and off this ship before the cleaning crew turn up, otherwise you will be going back to joining the Touzagh and your life as a corsair. Is that what you want?
"Last week at dinner, we spoke about what it was that I was planning to do, and I told you to think about what you wanted because I wasn't offering the corsair's life of quick victories, easy money, and fake bravado. All you'll get from me is hard work, long hours, and the satisfaction of knowing what real charisma is.
"If you want your former life in the Touzagh, go right ahead. You'll find your old packmates on the surface waiting for you.
"If you want this ship, you'll have to go through me. That means pointing that pistol at my head and pulling the trigger, and you better make damn sure I don't get back up.
"I'll fight for my ship, and I'll fight for my pack. What I did entering Ugarun space was fight for my rights as a ship's captain. If they were going to kill us they would have done it when they boarded. I took this ship from the Touzagh and persuaded its crew to come with me. That gained me respect from Captain Foeghsaerrrre and it gained you respect as well.
"As for glory and dull inaction, O you know what..." Darrurz expression becomes aggressive and he flashes a full snout of teeth at Verroel, "FUCK IT! If you're going to use that pistol, do it now. You're intelligent enough to learn from what I'm doing but you're stuck in a corsair's mentality. "So shoot me, or get your stuff and get off the ship before the cleaning crew turn up."
Verroel raises the weapon and takes a step or two forward to be sure of his aim.
Realizing that Verroel intends to call him on his counterchallenge, Darrurz starts to move to avoid the shot.
"Hell's hackles!" exclaims Fi, as he dives for the nearest cover.
Not expecting Verroel to actually shoot Darrurz, Vuedueloghz jumps.
The bullet hits Darrurz in the chest causing him to stagger backward. Instinctively, he puts his hand to where he was shot. It's red.
Darrurz snarls and charges.
Verroel raises his arm a few centimeters and fires again.
Darrurz takes a bullet to the head. The pain is excruciating but his anger keeps him on his feet. He reaches Verroel and grapples for the gun, but Verroel still gets the shot off. Verroel's shot misses.
Darrurz tries again but comes up short. Verroel is able to ward him off.
Verroel fires another shot, but he's too busy keeping Darrurz away that he can't get a clean shot.
Darrurz gets a hold of Verroel's shooting arm, preventing him from getting a shot off.
Verroel breaks free, hoping to get a clear shot.
Darrurz is unable to grasp Verroel before he gets the shot off, but it goes wide.
Darrurz gets a hold of Verroel, but he breaks free.
Darrurz doesn't give up. He gets a better grip this time, and Verroel isn't able to break away. Sensing an opportunity, Darrurz lunges for his throat and strikes! The taste of blood is a surprise: a hot, liquid savory sensation.
There is renewed resistance from Verroel as the pain from being bitten has made him aware that winning isn't a sure thing. Darrurz is unable to tighten his grasp. Instead Verroel breaks free.
The two wolves are oblivious to the arrival of Uthgoer and his work team. "We heard shots...oh fukh!"
"Stay back!" Vuedhueloghz shouts. "Verroel has a gun."
Darrurz tries to grapple again but misses, giving Verroel a chance to fire a shot but he misses again. The errant shot sends Uthgoer and company back, looking for cover.
Darrurz takes advantage of the miss and reaches for Verroel. He grabs his arm, but Verroel is able to break free.
Darrurz is off balance just enough that his next grappling attempt fails, thus giving Verroel a chance at another shot.
Verroel's shot hits Darrurz in his left arm. While the bullet was slowed somewhat by his vacc suit it's still a bad wound.
He still makes the effort to grapple with Verroel and succeeds.
Darrurz tries to take advantage of the hold and snaps at Verroel's neck. Verroel is wary of that maneuver and avoids Darrurz's snapping jaws.
Darrurz strengthens his hold on Verroel.
Maybe the neck wound is to blame but Verroel is unable to break free.
Darrurz tries to bite again but misses. He diverts too much attention to biting and is unable to improve his grip.
Verroel takes advantage of that and whittles Darrurz's hold down.
Since Verroel is still within his grasp, Darrurz tries to bite him.
The energy used for the bite again prevents him from improving his grapple and thus Verroel is able to escape from Darrurz.
Darrurz focuses on grabbing Verroel and succeeds but Verroel quickly escapes.
It happens again and again.
But Darrurz falters, giving Verroel a chance to shoot, but he misses.
Darrurz is a bit off balance so he can't make a good grappling attempt.
But Verroel is wayward with another shot, thus enabling Darrurz to close the gap.
They exchange a round of grappling.
Uthgoer calls out, "Why are they fighting?"
Vuedhueloghz replies, "Verroel challenged Darrurz for command of the ship."
The two wolves continue to grapple with one another. As Darrurz gains advantage, Verroel is quick to eliminate it.
Another round of this, point and counterpoint, Darrurz is able to hold Verroel and reach in for a bite, but Verroel was expecting it and dodges.
Darrurz is able to parley Verroel's focus on avoiding a bite into strengthening his hold, which enables him to make another biting attempt. However, Verroel is still focused on avoiding the bite so Darrurz misses.
Darrurz's grip on Verroel weakens as he tries to improve his biting success. It doesn't work.
Darrurz is able to hold his grip while making another biting attempt but Verroel isn't easy to fool.
"This is ridiculous!" Uthgoer shouts. "They're going to kill each other!"
"That's the idea," Vuedhueloghz replies with a laugh.
The pair continue to grapple with Darrurz slightly improving his hold, but he tries to bite Verroel three times and misses each time.
After a fourth time, Verroel surprises Darrurz by biting back. Fortunately for Darrurz, he saw it coming, and Verroel erred in his approach, leaving himself vulnerable to Darrurz's teeth.
Verroel's retaliatory attempt comes up short but the pain of the bite renews his efforts to break free so he can use his pistol again.
Each tries to bite the other but misses.
After more grappling and two bite attempts by each wolf, Verroel breaks free and fires a shot at Darrurz. The shot rips through his left leg causing him to howl out in pain.
Feeling the effects of the shot, Darrurz struggles to mount a grappling effort, thus giving Verroel a chance to fire again.
This next bullet slams into Darrurz's chest sending him reeling to the deck.
Before Darrurz can recover, Verroel is over to him and puts his boot on Darrurz's throat and his gun in Darrurz's face. The force of the boot isn't enough to cut off Darrurz's air supply, but it hurts nonetheless.
"Listen up," Verroel says with some menace. "If you move or speak, you're dead. Blink twice if you understand."
Darrurz blinks twice.
"Good." Without taking his eyes off of Darrurz, he says, "Fi, go get your med kit."
Fi Khong rushes out of the room.
Vuedhueloghz walks over to Verroel. "What are you going to do with him?"
"He's worth more to us alive than dead."
Fi Khong returns with his med kit. He pulls out an injector module and checks the label. Satisfied he places it next to Darrurz's neck. "This will take care of the pain, Darrurz." There's a look of sympathy in his eyes.
Darrurz feels a slight prick in his neck followed by the sensation of a cold fluid entering his body. Soon after, his extremities go numb and the adrenaline of combat dies. His eyelids grow heavy, and he soon realizes he can't fight the anesthetic that's carpet bombing his nervous system into a warm, fuzzy oblivion. Resistance is futile. His eyes close and all goes black.
Next: Change In Command