Characters: Verroel, Fi Khong
Location: Happy Trails
Two straight weeks in jump can be trying on a person. Sure, there was the one
hour layover while fuel was transferred to the jump engines for another jump,
but being between systems can be a bit nerve wracking. Who comes to your aid if
you're in an empty parsec and something goes wrong? There are stories of crews
freaking out and going mad. Fortunately, they're just stories. This crew is
fine. Still, there's some measure of relief to be back in normal space.
Verroel wags his tail as they come out of jump at last. He feels it would be good for everyone to stretch their legs before continuing on. Envar was a small, poor system with only the scout base to really distinguish itself. He doubted if there was much to be found here but at least they would dock, sniff around and see if any cargo could be found.
The crew has had pretty of time to prepare for their arrival in Vilani space. It isn't easy for a corsair to abandon his ways so there's some concern that Vilani patrols will sniff them out and assume the worst. But Sarruero insisted that the new vilani transponder will be perceived as genuine, and Fi Khong can vouch for Sarruero's word. Verroel makes sure the ship's transponder is on as corsairs have a habit of running with it turned off.
Upon arrival in the Envar system, the large mainworld is difficult to spot in the gloom of its pathetic M8V star. But Sarruero's modifications to the navigation database makes the match. Verroel lays in a course for Envar. As the world has a deep gravity well and Happy Trails has no residual velocity leftover from Ugarun, it will take 6 hours and 45 minutes to get there.
It doesn't take all that long before Happy Trails triggers the local
defensive systems. An Angrorghag class Seeker has vargr written all over
it no matter transponder is installed.
The ship is hailed. "Attention foreign vessel, this is the Envarian Defense Force. Please identify yourself and your reason for being in this system." The voice, as expected, is human.
Verroel takes up the comm and answers the hailer. "This is the starship, Happy Trails. We are jumping into the system, bound for Ninnigam. We're looking to refuel, carry any available cargo and depart."
"Acknowledged. Continue on present course and speed. Cease acceleration. One of our patrols will rendezvous with you and inspect your vessel. Failure to comply will be interpreted as hostile intent and we will act accordingly. Envarian Defense Force out."
Verroel instructs Fi Khong to comply with their request.
A Type T patrol cruiser has pulled up alongside Happy Trails and extended
a boarding cable. After being hailed by the vessel, Verroel informed its
captain that they would be waiting for the boarding party in the cargo bay on
Remembering the foolish arrogance of Darrurz back at Ugarun, Verroel and company are unarmed and polite. They are rewarded for their compliance. The boarding party, wearing combat armor and equipped with auto-shotguns, are quick with their examination of the ship. Their demeanor remains professional, but their weapons are pointed at the deck rather than the crew.
"Thank you for your cooperation," the team leader says to Verroel. "We appreciate your patience with our security check. We don't get many friendly visits from vargr vessels these days."
Verroel nods and replies, "The conflict is unfortunate and bad for business. Your professionalism is appreciated as well. Might you suggest local brokers that might point us to available business planet side?"
"That's easy," the team leader says. "Envar has only one brokerage: Envar Exports. Envar isn't a hotspot for any kind of activity so they've got a monopoly. I haven't heard any traders complaining so I guess they're fair. Sharurshid performs an annual audit so if they were found to be conducting themselves in an improper manner, the megacorp would revoke their license."
"Enjoy your visit to Envar." With that the boarding party returns to their ship.
Fi smiles in vindication. "I told you Sarruero was a honorable wolf."
Vued replies, "Yes! I intend to drink to his honor the next chance I get."
As soon as the boarding cable has retracted, the patrol cruiser breaks off from Happy Trails which resumes its descent to Envar.
Characters: Verroel, Fi Khong
Location: Happy Trails, parked inside Envar Down
The trip seemed like forever, but the ship finally lands at the downport.
Envar's inhospitable conditions force even the ships to go indoors. Envar's
downport consists of four well-insulated hangars in a roughly clover-leaf
pattern with the stem attached to a domed city for the world's 7,000
The ship sits isolated in the hangar bay. There are no docking collars. Ship's sensors indicate the hangar bay is still unbearably cold so everyone decides to wait for the residual heat from the engines to warm things up to freezing.
After the hangar bay has fully pressurized, the ship's sensors detect an odd sound: a loud bell ringing, not a single stately dong but rather the steady attack of a metal mallet on an attenuated saucer.
"That's strange," Vuedhueloghz says.
Fi opens the protective shutters that shield the Bridge windows. Directly across from the ship, in a room with large windows that look into the hangar bay, is a human waving at the crew. He mimes talking into a radio.
"Damn low tech worlds," Vuedhueloghz mutters.
Fi Khong lets the communications computer find the channel that the signal is broadcasting on. "Got it," he says.
A lower quality broadcast than you're used to comes through the speakers. "Hello? Hello? Can you read me?"
"Yes, we hear you," Verroel replies, a measure of patience in his voice.
"Ah good. Welcome to Envar Down. I'm Assistant Starport Warden Gaan Dakukhuzarir."
"Greetings! I'm Captain Verroel of the starship Happy Trails."
"Will you be needing fuel or life support refurbishment, Captain?"
"Yes, we'll be needing both."
"We'll have those ready for you just as soon as the bay warms up to a safe temperature."
"Will that take long?"
"Oh no. Just a few minutes. Is there anything I can help you with while you wait?"
"I need to find Envar Exports. We'd like to see if there's any freight available for our next destination."
"They're easy enough to find. You leave the starport and head into town. They're located right at the entrance. Can't miss them."
Another five minutes pass and then a horn blasts once somewhere in the bay. Doors open and three men enter the bay, each wearing heavy cold weather gear. Two approach some equipment in the bay while one walks over to the ship.
"Let's welcome him aboard," Verroel says. He gets up and heads down to the airlock with the others. Once there, he cycles open the airlock and lets the man on board.
A rush of frigid air escapes the airlock. It makes even the all vargr crew shiver. The bundled up man unwraps his protective gear, removes a glove, and offers his hand. "Gaan Dakukhuzarir at your service."
Verroel recognizes the human gesture for handshake and grasps the man's hand. "Captain Verroel." He wags his tail. "This is my crew: Fi Khong and Vuedhueloghz." Gaan shakes their paws each in turn.
"Before my men can get to refueling your ship, I have to take care of the formalities."
"We're a small facility so landing and berthing costs 50 credits. If you're still here after six standard days, we have to charge you 50 credits a day. We only have unrefined fuel and that costs 100 credits per ton. Life support is 1,000 credits per person per week. Ok?"
"Ok, fill us up with fuel and get us enough life support for two weeks." Verroel presents his card to be swiped. He cringes when he sees the bill comes to 10,150 credits, over half his savings. They're going to have to start making money fast! They'll also have to start hitting gas giants to save money. At least they don't have mortgage to worry about.
Verroel shivers his coat as he regards their stash of money. "Gaan, what are the customs regarding personal weapons and such in your habitats? We don't want to go naked but we also do not want to seem like a pack of corsairs armed to the teeth."
He jumps slightly at the question. "Oh, that's a good point. Well, technically we're rated at 3 so nothing of a strict military nature is permitted. But I understand the desire for self-defense so if you were to carry pistols around no one should be unduly alarmed. You'd certainly be within your rights."
"Thank you, Gaan. I would hate to cause problems through ignorance."
"Not at all. This is what I'm here for."
Fi speaks up, "Do you know where I can find medical supplies and updated nav chips or downloads?"
Gaan replies, "Medical supplies can be found at the branch of Imperial Outfitters in town. You're out of luck with navigation data though. If you need something for insystem navigation, you can talk to the Scouts, though they'll ask you why you need it. Otherwise, try one of the surrounding worlds. They're all far better equipped than us."
Characters: Verroel, Fi Khong
Location: Envar Down
Both Fi and Verroel put on their cloth armor, though Verroel opts to put his
coat on over that. Fi slings his shotgun while Verroel holsters a pistol. Comms
"Hold the ship, big wolf," Verroel says to Vuedhueloghz.
"You know it," he replies.
Fi and Verroel cast a glance at the technicians working on refueling the ship. Verroel gives them a nod, which they return. Verroel and Fi open the personnel airlock and head inside to the starport. A warm breeze greets them. Verroel realizes that he's going to warm up fast so he unbuttons his coat. The room is probably 15 meters by 15 meters with a 5 meter wide corridor heading towards "town". There are airlocks and cargo doors to each of the downport's four bays. Gaan is at the central "desk", a 4 meter by 4 meter square area that keeps visitors at arm's reach from starport personnel. A ladder runs up the middle to a hole in the ceiling. Gaan is talking to a co-worker and smiles as the pair of vargr enter.
Fi and Verroel make their way down the corridor to town. It's probably a 30 meter walk. Not far at all. Once inside town, a domed settlement that can't be more than 100 meters in diameter, they see people going about their business. There are a few double takes as the humans notes that Verroel and Fi are vargr. But as neither one makes any sudden moves or threatening gestures, people leave them alone.
On either side of the "street" at the entrance are Imperial Outfitters and Envar Exports. Verroel indicates that he wants to go to Envar Exports first. "Business first."
Once inside, a portly middle-aged human female greets the pair. She asks, "May I help you?"
Verroel is careful to avoid threatening gestures knowing that many of these humans see his people as rapacious corsairs. There is no point in stirring up trouble when they lacked the back up to do anything about it. Besides, the pickings here would be very slim indeed.
He answers, "I need to see someone about freight availability for our next destination."
"Yes, of course." Without taking her eyes off of the vargr, she calls over her shoulder, "Enli, there's a couple of gentlemen here to see you about freight."
"Be right there," a voice calls out from the next room. Sure enough, in just a few seconds a tall, bald middle-aged human male emerges from a side room. He smiles and says with enthusiasm, "Gentlemen!" He shakes their paws as he introduces himself, "I'm Enli Gagidiki. I'm Envar's primary broker."
Verroel introduces himself and Fi.
"Come in, please." Enli leads them to the room he came from. "Have a seat."
Verroel wags his tail and sits in the proffered chair. Fi does likewise.
"We don't get many visitors here on Envar, especially traders. It's typically only scouts or suppliers. What brings you two here?"
Verroel answers, "We were passing through the area and like any other trader we need to haul some freight to pay the bills."
"Did you deliver anything?"
Verroel thinks fast. "No. Nothing was available."
"That's too bad. Well, we do have some freight available. Where are you headed?"
"Ok, let me check." He consults a low tech computer that sits on his desk. "You're in luck. We've got one lot. It's 20 tons of methane stored in individual gas cylinders. Interested?"
"Methane you say. Yes, I would be interested. Standard rates?"
"Good." Verroel chews his lip. He knows from talking with traders, when corsairs could mingle without raising everyone's hackles, that standard rate is 1,000 credits per ton. Half would cover what he outlaid for fuel and life support and the rest would be profit. Hmmm, have to figure out how we're going to divide those up. "We have room to spare. Any mail or miscellaneous cargo that needs to go there?"
"Let me check." He clicks the keyboard a few times. "No, sorry. Nothing else."
"Ok, then." He extends his paw for a human handshake. Enli takes it without hesitation.
"We'll get those methane tanks over to your ship within the hour."
"Good." Verroel smiles but is careful to hide his teeth.
Enli shakes Fi's hand as well.
"I'll have the paperwork delivered with the tanks." He then sees the pair to the door.
Once outside, Verroel says to Fi. "That went well." He gestures to Imperial Outfitters across the street. "Now let's go see about your medical supplies."
Characters: Verroel, Fi Khong
NPC: Vuedueloghz (on ship)
Location: Envar Down
Fi and Verroel walk across the street and enter Imperial Outfitters, the
popular personal equipment chain store. This one is small but it's better than
nothing. The pair look around the store and see small signs for
"Protective Gear", "Exploration Tools", "Communications", "Food & First
Aid", and "Camping Gear".
There's a mid-20's looking human male sitting behind a counter. He doesn't seem unnerved by your presence. He says, "Have a look around. If you need help, let me know."
"Thanks," both vargr say.
As medical supplies was number one on Fi's list, the pair head over to "Food & First Aid". There's a decent selection of canned and dried food but it seems geared toward humans. The canned meats are all cooked, not high on a vargr's menu but edible. There's jerky too, which is good for snacking. Anyway, there's complete first aid kits with a varied selection of supplies. There's also individual items available: bandages, anti-toxins, burn ointment, basic analgesics, and legal stimulants. Fast drug and medical slow drug are available too.
Fi looks for any Pep drugs and Redhistak 6 but doesn't find any. There aren't any over the counter vaccines either. He's able to find anti-toxins, antibiotics, and Oxytabs though. He grabs enough for a dozen doses and some analgesics, burn ointment, fast and medical-slow and heads to the register.
Meanwhile Verroel wanders around in the "Protective Gear" and "Communications" sections. He finds various communicators (stand alone and network dependent) with all sorts of bells and whistles. Protective gear is primarily vacc suits (human-shaped) and patches for those that lack the self-sealing option. There are shields and glasses to protect against glare. There are adaptive pads for elbows and knees, and extra helmet armor for those that choose to go mining. Extreme cold environmental suits are there too, but these are designed for non-vacuum conditions.
Fi asks the cashier about Pep and Redhistak 6.
"Sorry, the Scout Service doesn't want the trainees to get a hold of them so we can't sell them."
Fi shrugs and puts the rest of the stuff on the counter.
"Before I ring this up, I'm going to need to see your physician's ID card."
Fi tilts his head to the right. His right ear droops.
The cashier recognizes Fi's sign of confusion and explains, "Uhhh, because of the war, the Vilani government doesn't want medicine to be administered by anyone other than a licensed physician. I can't sell this stuff," he gestures to the antibiotics, anti-toxins, fast, and medical-slow drugs, "without ID. I can sell you the painkillers, burn ointment, and Oxytabs. Those are over the counter. Do you have an ID?"
Fi doesn't have a Vilani ID as he's never been in the Ziru Sirkaa. He didn't need ID in the Ngath Confederation as licensing is a local issue and the Ugarun-82 station didn't require one (not that Sarruero would have had a problem getting him anything he needed). He mulls over whether or not he wants to show his Karrarrurrsorrg Merchant Academy Medical College ID but ultimately decides not to as he's uncertain how the locals will respond to someone from the Ngath Confederation.
"Sorry, I don't. Forget that stuff. Just figure out what I owe you for the over the counter stuff and this!" He grabs a box of jerky.
"No worries." He chuckles at Fi strong desire for jerky and then tabulates the order. "That'll be 425 credits."
Fi pays the man, howls for Verroel, and the two leave the store and head back to the ship. Fi tells Verroel what happened and his desire to obtain a Vilani Physician ID to avoid this hassle in the future.
Characters: Verroel, Fi Khong
Location: On Happy Trails, parked at Envar Down
Fi and Verroel return to the ship and relate their success to Vuedhueloghz.
"Good! Our first foray into pinkie space as traders instead of raiders is a success."
"How did refueling go?" Verroel asks.
"Fine," he says with a shrug. "They just went about their business and that was it."
The freight from Envar Exports has arrived. The "truck" is a low slung
electric tug pulling small pallets loaded on trailers. It resembles an airport
The driver hands over a clipboard with papers to Verroel. "Sign on the X's please." He then drives into the ship's cargo hold and uses a power assisted lift to unload his trailers. On the way out he picks up his clipboard and checks to make sure Verroel has signed everywhere. He tears off the pink sheet and hands it to Verroel. He says, "Have a safe trip," and is gone before Verroel can even respond.
Verroel sighs and says, "Ok wolves, prepare for take off."
With the cargo safely secured and the engines warmed up, Verroel requests
permission to depart from the Downport Traffic Control. Permission is granted.
The landing bay depressurizes. Once equilibrium has been established, the hangar doors open. Fi lifts the ship up and out.
Acceleration terminated. Speed: 452,958 kph (281,455 mph)
[OOC: Envar is a size 9 world and Gadushan is a size 5 world. To compensate for the difference, pilots will routinely only accelerate from the larger world for as long as they have time to decelerate at the smaller. After a week in jump a couple hours of coasting is a small trade off compared to extra fuel having to be burned when a world is overshot. If you were going to a gas giant, it wouldn't matter here. However, Gadushan has no gas giant. You have to pay for that fuel.]
Safe jump distance reached. Jump!
Next: Arrival at Gadushan